I am a writer, artist and poet from North Carolina. I recently self published a children's/YA book called Harold and the Dreadful Dreams. You can learn more about it at my blog https://jmhauser.com, as well as other projects.
The True Story Behind Mazes & Monsters
In 1982, a TV movie released on CBS called "Mazes and Monsters." Starring a very young Tom Hanks in his first lead role, the show wasn't particularly noticed (not until later, when Tom Hanks shot to superstardom and everything he'd ever done was resurrected, for better or worse).
The Wyrmtongue Chronicles
There weren't always dragons in the Valley. Ages ago, my ancestors flew there upon hot, volcanic winds. They found the island valley and rejoiced, for it offered refuge from their sinking, smoldering lands destined to doom. At first my kin were few; and then one day, many. But it angered the men of those kingdoms. The verdant Valley belonged to them – not us – although most of mankind dwelt coastally. The Valley lay sheltered and pristine at the island's heart, difficult to reach. My kin vowed to keep it. The humans vowed to reclaim it.
I confess, Mom; I didn't know what I was doing when born. I do know —only because you told me later — that it was a difficult birth. Something about a big dinner the evening before, then contractions and labor that lasted twenty-four hours, and vomiting until the only thing left in your stomach was bitter black bile, and still I wanted to stay inside. I really had no idea the punishment I put you through, and for that I am deeply, truly sorry. If that was the only pain I ever inflicted on you it might not be so bad, but I did it again and again. Having children is hard! We are always so darn needy. Fortunately, you were up to the task.
The old dumbwaiter rattled toward the basement, but Paul's father, Professor Allen Stokely, had strictly forbidden any disturbances. That had been his first command. That also meant that Paul could not bounce his basketball, he could not blare any Boston radio stations (even though he thought reception outside Sudbury was shit-on-a-stick), and above all, he could not—must not—cry.
A Tale of Terror
My fingers rest on the keyboard like motionless crab legs. Outside, snow covers the box hedge and the sprawling Asheville hills beyond. Bright ice sheathes the fir trees and our wooden fence, its pickets jutting to the sky like cruel daggers. And as I calmly watch this tranquil, familiar scene, I wait for an idea. Something…horrible. Something…grotesque. A tale of terror that I know I can write because this girl has done it so many, many times before.
Our Encounter with an Albino Stag
We were hiking at Oconeechee Park, Virginia, on New Year's Day, 2022. The weather was mild, a few clouds, but otherwise a perfect day to stroll in the woods. We had a white husky tagging along, little more than a puppy at a year old, and she galloped down the trail or out in the woods at full speed.
Henry Trapp rarely played poker, and now that Stuart, Adam, and Jack "The Jackass" were beating him with such panache, such perfection, it seemed like orchestrated annihilation, a game of five-card fuck you. But he liked Stuart and had come anyway, rather than sitting home on a Friday night and watching reruns of classic Star Trek. It would have reminded him —quite painfully — of life without Sandy.
The Boy Who Cried Snizzerwit
Illustrations by Scott Ackerman. The Boy Who Cried Wolf is the obvious inspiration for this story. HP Lovecraft is a close second. This is a grim and cautionary tale that bad boys and bad girls should heed. If not, remember that sometimes what you say and what you do is observed by the people — or things — you least suspect.