Dreamscapes into Darkness

Enter at your Own Risk: Dreamscapes into Darkness will be published on April 25th by Firbolg Publishing. It’s an anthology of classic and modern Gothic tales, and my The Story of Alfred Maus is included.

Here’s how it begins:

On the morning of his fifty-third birthday, Frances Maus gave her husband a sincere kiss and a subscription to the world’s five oldest literary magazines, as was their custom. Alfred surprised her by beginning to sob quietly into his tea. Mediocre tears of timid desperation rolled down his face and sploshed onto the Times crossword.

“Alfred, what’s wrong? This is not like you.”

“I’ve left it too long,” he said, sniffing loudly.

“What do you mean, Alfred?”

“My writing. It’s too late. I’m never going to be able to write anything.”

Mrs. Maus, having been in love with a Post Office Assistant for almost thirty years now and never with a writer at all, sighed and rubbed his quivering back. “You just have to start getting it down, Alfred. Get some practice in.”

He peered up at her through steamed, circular lenses. “There’s no point writing anything if it’s not going to be good enough. There’s so much dross out there already. So much vacuous verbiage, echoing emptily in the earhole of eternity.” His voice was like wet gravel.

“Do you think that whoever it was that painted the Mona Lisa did it the first time they picked up a brush?” she asked. “Are any of your favorite books the first thing that the author ever wrote?”

“What do you know of literature, Frances?”

“Maybe nothing,” his wife replied, and looked across the breakfast table, the spotless crockery, the tea and toast and marmalade made just the way he liked them. “But I know a damn site more than you do about life, and about getting things done.”