BAYONNE, NJ - Even before the COVID-19 pandemic hit the region, many of the old taverns and other places that inspired Cindy Rosmus’ short stories had ceased to exist. But this hasn’t stopped Rosmus from going to those places in her imagination, and the people she met in those places continue to inspire some of the stories that appear in her latest book, Stupidiocy.
A one-time editor of textbooks, Rosmus just published her six volumes of cutting edge, even risqué fiction, and currently works as editor of the on-line fiction magazine Yellow Mama. “Since 2007, editor and art director,” she said. “I assign stories and some photo illustrations.”
Rosmus said her stories are loosely derived from her experiences, adapted people and situations from her own life. Although she alters the names, people who know her know where these stories take place and sometimes, the people she has modeled her characters after.
“Most people who lived in Bayonne will know what bar I am talking about in my stories,” she said.
A resident of Bayonne for nearly 30 years, most of her stories are centered around her life here. But she also writes about other places she’s been such as working as a waitress in Atlantic City in the early 1970s.
As with her earlier works, Stupidiocy explores some of the dark aspects of human nature, and how obsession can twist a person’s life. While not the first woman writer to explore this genre, Rosmus has earned a reputation for tales with unique twists.
She has published in a number of magazines that include Hardboiled, Black Petals, and Thin Ice, as well as the prestigious literary publication The North American Review. Her work has appeared in several anthologies, and one of her stories won the 1986 Margarita G. Smith Award for Short Fiction from the New Jersey School for Social Research.
Rosmus grew up in Belleville, where she attended Catholic school. “Growing up as catholic, I was misfit in the 60s,” she said. She started writing at five years old as a way of entertaining herself but found that writing also provided her with a way of dealing with the uncomfortable social stigma of being a misfit.
If she wanted to get even with a bully, she wrote that person into one of her stories, she told TAPinto Bayonne.
Rosmus also wrote pornography for a while as a part-time writer and saw her work appear in “Fox”, “Oui”, and other publications. “Writing pornography is boring,” she said. “There was no way I could keep writing it.”
Her themes cover a full range of emotions: pain, frustration, fantasy and revenge.
She considers many of her stories in the horror genre, these are not science fiction, and she claims she can’t write romantic love stories. One of the stories in her most recent book, Kaboom, deals with a 6th grader building a bomb.
Her stories and story titles are filled with innuendo, such as the title of her new book which is a code words for murder. Some of the characters find secret rooms in bars and strange clues, such as blue hair, a wallet or a cell phone. “My stories are still local,” she said. “Even if the bars I used to hang out in no longer exist.”
Her new book is available online on Amazon for $15.99 in paperback – and less for the Kindle version. Some reprints of her earlier books are also available.
Know a story we should share with readers? Email editor Steve Lenox and tell him about it.