I’ve received some interesting questions over the past few days about my new short story release THE LOST DAY. These are those compiled together. Feel free to ask your own questions in the comments section, and I’ll be sure to answer and share.
Q: What is your new short story about?
Rick: A man who wakes up in a reality that isn’t his own. He’s a character from my books that changed history, and upon returning to his own time realizes that nothing is as it was. Everyone around him knows who he is, but he knows nothing about this new reality. It becomes even more of a nightmare for him when he is captured to be studied, and he realizes that his very existence puts the future of mankind at risk.
Q: Should I read the novels before reading this story?
Rick: No, not at all. As a matter of fact, I wrote THE LOST DAY to be a stand alone short. Yes, it’s a spinoff, but only to fill in the gaps for any readers of the novels that have a question about what happened to him. For newcomers, there is a total disconnect with the novels in this short, so it was intended for all audiences.
Q: There’s an interesting take on the antagonist in the story. What gave you the idea for such a character?
Rick: I don’t really see the story as having a true antagonist. I mean obviously there is that character, but it isn’t “bad.” It’s doing the thing that it thinks is right. If anything the main character is sort of the antagonist. The idea for the creature that you are referring to though came from current events. If you look back to what life was a few hundred years ago versus today, there is a difference. For the most part all races are reproducing together, and human sexuality goes beyond just straight and gay. So for a point in the human evolutionary scale, in the far future, there very well could be a grey skinned and asexually reproducing person.
Q: Do you think this approach to a character will cause controversy?
Rick: Not really. It’s done in a manner that is respectful to all people of orientation and race. I also think that it is something that could be plausible in a few million years. If it does stir controversy I’m all for it. Any type of chatter will bring others to read it. Just look at what Dan Brown did, and he’s become an outstanding well known author.
Q: Where do you stand with your beliefs on the topic of interracial breeding and sexual orientation?
Rick: That’s a touchy subject that I try to avoid, but I can say that I believe it isn’t our place to judge others. People have their own right to love who they want, but it’s when they force their beliefs on others that it becomes a problem. The same goes for the reverse point of view. If something bigger and better is out there, whether it God or aliens or both, then we would be a disgrace to a superior being with all of the turmoil we create amongst our own human species. Let the higher powers judge our own actions. My thoughts are don’t judge and don’t push agendas no matter where you stand.
Q: Do all of your books have a message like this?
Rick: Real life inspires a lot of my writing, but I want my stories to be enjoyable to a wider audience. I might have underlying themes throughout them, but there is never a message that I’m trying to push at all. I just want everyone to be able to relate and understand each other to some degree. We don’t all have to agree on everything, but understanding each other is a step toward a greater future.
Q: It seems like you think a lot about the future.
Rick: Having children does that to you. I used to be very carefree in all that I did. I took life for granted for a time. Now I realize how precious it is, and when I’m gone I want my kids, their kids, and their kids kids, and beyond to be able to be role models and be part of a greater future.
Q: How does this short-story relate or differ to your other shorts?
Rick: Other than it following the groundwork laid out in THE LOST HOUR…. THE LOST DAY is entirely self sustaining.
Q: There is a little bit of a cliffhanger at the end. Will we see Don Blake again?
Rick: I plan on it. I think there is a responsibility as an author to wrap up all loose ends. Even if it is a simple one liner in a future book that says “Don Blake’s remains were found,” or have him cameo in a minor role, or be a major character. Don Blake will return. I promise closure on that.
Q: Tell us about the cover idea. Who did the art and design?
Rick: I did the design and layout. Originally I wanted to have a sundial, but the pocket watch was my wife’s idea. It was also an element that I threw into the story at literally the last minute before sending to the editors.
Q: Where can one purchase a copy of THE LOST DAY?
Rick: It’s available at Lulu.com in print and will eventually be on Amazon and Barnes and Noble as part of my next trilogy release.
The Flash has always been one of my absolute favorite DC comics characters (especially Barry Allen as the Flash). This filled that inner need to see his version of the speedster on screen again. We start off with Barry as a child, before he had the lab accident that created his abilities. This whole childhood flashback was a perfect prologue to our story.
Following this scene, we get a battle with Flash’s rogues. The highlight isn’t Mirror Master, Captain Boomerang, or Captain Cold however. It is when Professor Zoom (The Reverse Flash) shows up. I had a bit of chills watching Flash stand his own ground, and then finally lose the battle. When the Justice League arrives to help, it got even better.
This was not the highlight though. In the next part, Barry wakes up in an alternate reality where his mother never died, he never became the Flash, Bruce Wayne was shot instead of his parents (leaving his mother an insane version of the Joker, and his Father, an alcoholic Batman. and Chaos all around. Here are my problems with this reality…
Aquaman and Wonder Woman are the villains in this story. This normally wouldn’t be an issue for me, as I can see why it would work, but the lack of explanation as to why they are willing to wage war on everyone else seems to be an annoyance. There is also a secret weapon that Aquaman has (Captain Atom is chained up). It is never explained as to why, and how he will just go nuclear when the time comes.
All that aside, this was a very brutal reality. Barry convinces Batman to help him recreate the lab experiment that created the Flash. After suffering third degree burns and a failed attempt, Barry goes for it again, only to have it work. This was disturbing on many levels, but really nice to see him as the unselfish hero he is. I loved it for both these aspects.
So the battle continues as Wonder Woman and Aquaman go all out war on each other. Hell breaks loose, and we get a cool little cameo by an alternate Justice league and other heroes including Etrigan and The Shazam kids. Oh wait I almost forgot… Superman is in this reality, but I don’t want to spoil his presence in this world. You have to see it to believe it. Really cool.
My favorite parts are at the end though. When Zoom arrives and he and Flash have their one on one battle, where the “True cause” of this reality is revealed. Seeing The Flash tap into the speed force, as well as Batman (the real Batman once everything is set right) actually shed a tear and cry, was breathtaking.
So the ratings? Well, stay through the credits because we kind of get a glimpse of what might be coming next in a short clip. I’d give Justice League: Flashpoint Paradox an 8 out of 10. Not the best DC animated movie to date, but among the contenders, and definitely one of my favorites.