Works in Progress

Previews of some of the works in progress by Dennis Maulsby:

The Journal of Father Donahey

A book of linked short stories, featuring Father Patrick Ignatius Donahey, born and raised in Ireland, who left his natal village to become a priest. After a life of service he has now retired to the small Iowa town of Winterset. He is impressed with its diverse population of Irish, Scot, German, Asian, and Latino immigrants. And even more impressed with the supernatural and mythological creatures they have brought with them. Creatures he must deal with in order to protect the lives and harmony of his new flock.

Status: Ten stories completed in draft. Writers’ group critique completed. Professional proof reading required.

Note: The first story, “The Night of the Pooka,” won the first place award at the Montezuma All-Iowa Writers Conference in 2015 and has been published in Mused Literary Review. Copy for sale on book page.

 

The Sommelier

It’s modern times and yet many of the old gods still exist among us. Dionysus and his girlfriend Terpsikora, the muse of dance, live in New York. With thousands of years of experience as the god of wine, he works as a master sommelier, and she as a prima ballerina. What else? But, it’s a cover for their roles as independent contractor-assassins for the CIA.

Examining a mosaic of the old god in a chariot drawn by two tigers, he defines the Olympian’s role to his government controller:

“The man is the Greek god Dionysus, or Bacchus if you prefer the Roman name. He is the God of the vine, grape harvest, wine, and theater.” Denys pulled off the sunglasses; his eyes grew wider, eyebrows arched. He locked his vision together with that of his guest. “You should also include among his capabilities those of religious ecstasy and ritual madness.”

As Denys and Kora, they travel the world under cover. Denys working at five star Michelin restaurants, consulting with vintners, and conducting workshops for master sommelier candidates. They are fussy and only accept CIA hits with minimum risk. Their idyllic life is shattered when Kora is kidnapped. Denys is given a new partner and sent on a chain of violent suicidal assaults trying to rescue his lover, Kora always seems to be moved just before his arrival. He begins to wonder if there is more to this than a simple kidnapping.

Status: Rough draft completed. (writers’ group critique completed) Second draft required.

 

The Assisi — a novel 

The virus became nosocomial, infesting non-plague patients and medical personnel.
Hospitals, clinics, and laboratories became centers of contagion and death.
There was no chance of developing a vaccine. Before the net went down, we received
a partial RNA analysis: norovirus and Ebola genes stranded together with unidentified
others. The horror of it! We began to believe the curse man-made — genetically engineered.

Zaid Al-Ghazali, Professor of Virology, Iowa State University, extract from
The Book of Recollections, writings of the first suvivors, Abby Press, page 3,
originally recodred in year one After The Great Dying (AGD).

An orphaned boy grows up in what used to be the state of Iowa. Two hundred and fifty years earlier, a worldwide apocalyptic plague killed off ninety-five percent of the world’s population. Two and a half centuries of lightning generated fires, insect damage, storms, floods, and earthquakes have leveled most twenty-first century structures. Where they are discernible at all, the old abandoned cities and towns are earth-covered mounds. The ruins, still contaminated with inert spores of the original plague, remain quarantined by the survivors’ progeny even after eight generations.

Humans in their isolation are beginning to die out. The last half-century has seen the Iowa territory population drop to half of its peak of twenty-five thousand. Two and a half centuries of seclusion have resulted in a gene pool that has worn very thin. The growth in recessive characteristics, malformed newborns, a high rate of miscarriage, and abnormal births necessitate finding new populations for intermarriage. The human race is at a tipping point. Diminished numbers force change in societies that fear new contacts will result in a return of the plague.

Societal and spiritual forces bend the young hero against his will to become the key player in a last ditch attempt to revive the human race.
Status: (Writers’ group critique completed) Manuscript finished in draft. Final review and professional proof reading required.

 

The House de Gracie — a novel

To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heavens:

Ecclesiastics 3:1

After ten years in the U.S. Army, Major Hugh de Gracie returns to his five hundred year old family mansion in the New York’s Adirondack Mountains. A terminal bat-borne disease caught in Afghanistan gives him very little time to reconcile with a family he rejected a decade ago. Only his pending death provides a powerful enough reason to bring him back into an isolated Gothic household of many secrets. The family and house are more intimately intertwined than Hugh can possibly imagine.

The illness is not the full extent of his problems. An implacable Taliban enemy made on the battlefield will seek him out. Supported by wealthy Saudi interests the enemy will attempt to destroy him, his family, and his house.

Status: (Writers’ group critique completed) Manuscript completed in draft. Professional proof reading completed. Manuscripts out to potential publishers.

 

The Adamson Files — a novel

                “There shall the beasts of the desert meet with the jackals, and the wild goat shall cry to his fellow; the Lilith also shall settle there, and find for herself a place of rest.”

                                           Isaiah 34:14, Darby Translation

It’s contemporary New York City. Mixing everyday with the normal human inhabitants of the Big Apple are creatures of myth and legend. The protagonists are a succubus/incubus, whose seductive brother and sister personalities share one body. Considered demons by the priests of a centuries old department of the Catholic Church, they are marked for destruction. They must use all the skills they have acquired over the millennia to survive.

Limiting their cooperation and possible survival, the brother initially suffers from amnesia induced by the priests’ last violent attack and cannot communicate with his alternate inner female personality. The pair must find shelter and allies both human and spiritual. The priests will use old and new technology to find and destroy them, including both human and nonhuman minions.

Status: First and second draft manuscript complete. (Writers’ group critique completed) Sending to publishers.

 

Tridecagon

Definition: tridecagon – a polygon having thirteen sides and thirteen angles. A geometric equivalent of traditional thirteen syllable American haiku/senryu. This chapbook consists of twenty-six haiku and senyru poetry with a bonus tanka.

Status: (Writers group critique completed) Proof copy edited. Book release scheduled for October 2017. To be available for purchase on this site.