Books & Novels

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Heart Songs

Heart songs come from many sources. We welcome  those of love, whether romantic or platonic. Our life experiences evoke other songs, whether bawdy, prideful, humorous, sad, happy, terrifying, or in joyous dance — the heart’s percussion, riffs, and chords changing in response to each experience.

Poetry can capture them all, permitting the intimate sensual and intimate virtual to blend. In this book, think of the poems as the author’s sheet music — records of the heart’s songs.

• blonde girl’s earbuds throb
• heavy metal guitar chokes
• peppery symbols

The book has won two first-place awards from the Military Writers’ Society of America and American Book Fest American Fiction Awards.

“I am enjoying reading Heart Songs. A wonderful collection of poems. Some seen before, some new to my eyes. I read 2-3 each evening. Read, re-read, and savor. Not a race like a novel to get to the end, rather a fine meal with rich flavor. I linger and relish.”
Unsolicited response from a member of the Omega critique group.

HeartSongsMaulsbyReview (click to see pdf of reviews)

First Reviews
“Far-reaching in subject matter and depth, Heart Songs is a poetry collection that offers a vivid, powerfully emotional window into the soul of war, Nature, and love. Dennis Maulsby has achieved the lofty goal he’s set out to do, that of moving his readers’ hearts to the beat of the music of life.”

David Ervin
Military Experience & the Arts, Inc. 

Available for purchase at

Winterset, Short stories of pixies, demons and fiends

The Irish-born Father Donahey has retired from many years of service as a Catholic priest in South American countries to Winterset, Iowa. It’s not to be the life of books and long rural walks that he expects. The community and the surrounding area are awash with supernatural creatures. Some are friendly, some not, but all must be dealt with in order to protect his new parish, state, country, and the wider world from chaos and destruction.

Note: stories from the book published independently: 1) The first story, “The Night of the Pooka,” won the first-place award at the Montezuma All-Iowa Writers Conference in 2015, has been published in Mused Literary Review and Lulu’s Share Your Scare anthology. 2) The short story “Betty and the Demon has been published in Astounding Outpost Magazine. 3) “Two Dogs and a Pig” has been published in The Writing Piazza Press 2017 Where We May Wag Anthology. 4) “Pixies, a Troll, and a …” received an honorable mention in the third quarter of 2018 L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future contest. This story was also published in The Norwegian American Newspaper under “The Norwegian American Troll” in 2019. 5) “The Wizard and the Queen of Demons” was published in 2018 in the Halloween anthology Chills Down Your Spine, NeoLeaf Press.

The short story “The Wizard and the Queen of Demons,” from Winterset, Short Stories of Pixies, Demons, and Fiends, is narrated on Christopher Herron’s Tall Tale TV, Sci-Fi and Fantasy Audiobook Podcast. 

To listen to the narration, go to

Military Writers Society of American Book Review:

Winterset by Dennis Maulsby is a fantastical creation of mystical magical proportions, at once charming and deadly, fanciful and dark. Maulsby has conjured up a feast of short stories featuring Father Donahey, a retired Catholic priest. Donahey, born in Ireland and having served for most of his life in South America, has moved to Winterset, Iowa. He didn’t choose the locale to spend time protecting the world from denizens of destruction; he moved there to enjoy long walks in between reading good books in his retirement. But Winterset is the site of a worldwide inter-dimensional gateway for supernatural beings, most of them of the unfriendly variety. Pulled into the maelstrom of the havoc created by other-world entities, Donahey battles evil, aided by friends who exhibit supernatural powers themselves.

The writing is captivating and intense, placing the reader in the midst of the action—surrounded by the sights, scents, and sensations of cataclysmic struggles—almost as if the reader has been transported into the pages of the book.

Keep your nightlight on.

 Review by Betsy Beard (July 2019)

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.

Note: story extracts from the novel published independently: 1) “The Graceful Raven,” in All Gave Some, 2014 Anthology of the Military Writers of America. 2) “The Dive Bar,” appearing in the 2017 Main Street Rag anthology Of Burgers and Barrooms. 3) “Amtrac Dream,” (500-word flash fiction) received an Honorable Mention in the 2015 Soul-Making Keats Literary Competition—the annual community arts outreach program of the National Federation of American Pen Women. 4) “Bull Run Picnic” dream sequence published in the winter edition of Dispatches, the online magazine of the Military Writers Society of America.

Now available at Amazon Books in eBook or print.

Military Writers Society of America Review

Dennis Maulsby’s House de Gracie is an excellent mix of fantasy fiction and military action that will leave the reader wanting more.

Hugh de Gracie is a worn-out, half-blind, shot up military officer who is out of the Army because of his injuries. He doesn’t have long to live, and so he returns to the family mansion to live out his remaining days. While home, he learns two important things. First, being home has completely cured him of any illness, and second, he has started a blood feud with the family of terrorists he killed when escaping Taliban activity. As he learns more about his family history, he realizes that the timelines don’t make sense. His father should be MUCH older than he looks. More and more, as Hugh learns things are not what they seem, he is hurtling down a path of reckoning with a Taliban fanatic that will see much bloodshed by both families.

While I am not a fan of fantasy fiction, I am a fan of military fiction, and I love how Maulsby weaves both together to create one of the most unique stories I have ever read. The story seems perfectly plausible, even though it shatters the normal boundaries of time and the human relationship with nature. It’s very well done, and a fun read besides. I am absolutely hoping for a sequel!

Review by Rob Ballister (June 2020)

Available for purchase at

The Fantasy Works

fan·ta·sy (fan(t)əsē) •noun• Imagining things that are impossible or improbable.

works (wɜːks )•plural noun • 1. a place where work is done, as in a factory. •2. a writer’s achievements. Such as the works of Shakespeare. •3. To operate successfully.

Welcome to The Fantasy Works. Join your imagination with that of award-winning author Dennis Maulsby in works of poetry, short stories, and novel extracts. Immerse yourself in tales of war and peace, demons, and the old gods—the past is forcing itself on the present. Who will win?

Available at

Free Fire Zone

Welcome to the Free Fire Zone, also known as a free kill zone. In Vietnam, it was enemy territory; all the friendlies and neutrals moved out. Anyone found in such an area was considered hostile, a legitimate target that could be killed on sight, no questions asked. Each of the seventeen stories in this book originate from this zone, any subject, any genre fair game. The short stories are bound together by the main character, Rod Teigler, traveling through his life beginning in mid-sixties Vietnam and continuing to the present day. Teigler’s war experiences, helped along by government experimentation, leave him with a severe personality disorder. Fear or anger turns the hero into something you don’t want to meet up with in broad daylight, let alone in a dark alley. Free Fire Zone received a Silver Medal Award from the Military Writers Society of America and a finalist award in the 2017 International Book Awards contest.

Mar 24, 2018, Military Writers Society of America (MWSA) Review

Sometimes, we are compelled to fight evil. To do so, we must become evil at times. This novel is about the risk of becoming that which you confront.

Free Fire Zone by Dennis Maulsby is a complex book. It is a combination of thriller, literary fiction, and science fiction. The novel speaks to the pain of war, the horror observed therein, and the inner battle the warrior fights to resist becoming what he must be on the battlefield. Maulsby addresses the demons created by PTSD, but he brings his demon to life, imbuing it with personality and power beyond any description I’ve read before. One does what one must in war in order to survive and support his warrior brothers. There is heart-rending, heart-changing danger in doing that. Maulsby tackles the topic head-on and breathes life into it, even if it makes a reader uncomfortable. This is mature audience reading, for sure.

Review by Mike Mullins, MWSA Reviewer

Available at Prolific Press Bookstore or at

Near Death/Near Life

Near Death/Near Life has received a Gold Medal Award from the Military Writers Society of America, was named a finalist in the de Vinci Eye cover art award, and was a 2016 Best Book Awards finalist.

What others say about Near Death / Near Life:

“To read Dennis Maulsby’s powerful, uncompromising poems is to inhabit the vivid, surreal dream of a soldier–to see the world as he, a Vietnam veteran, did many years ago. The poems are about the horror of war, loss, and the road back to civilian life, described in hauntingly beautiful and precise images you cannot forget.”

Karen E. Bender, author of Refund

“In his newest poetry collection, Near Death/Near Life, Dennis Maulsby captures a devastating universe of visceral juxtapositions with acuity and grace. His sensual images alternate between raw and highly polished, move from softly lyrical to staccato-rapid firing and blend unique jazz riffs with discordant turbulence. The language is compelling, interestingly fresh, concise, and layered. Maulsby’s poetry is intense and immediate and can leave the reader breathless as memories of wartime nightmares take on tender overtones, but he intersperses well-crafted haiku, musical interludes, historical fragments, and love poems throughout his book to offer moments of respite from the symphonic killing fields he depicts.

Marilyn Baszczynski, Former President of the Iowa Poetry Association

“Maulsby’s third collection of poetry begins in violence and ends in an aria, carrying the reader along in an intimate and tender journey through decades of love, life, war, and peace. Along the way, we touch on all the things we’ve come to expect from Maulsby–haiku, Vietnam, deep imagery, capital-R Romanticism, etc–but we also see an expansion both in the scope of the content and in the exuberant and musical prosody. Settle in, fasten your seatbelt, and plan to spend some time with this book!”

Jim Coppoc, Senior Lecturer, Iowa State University, author of Manhattan Beatitude; Reliquary; and Blood, Sex & Prayer.

March 24, 2018 Military Writers Society of America (MWSA) Review.

Vivid imagery and thought-provoking shards of brilliance.

Near Death Near Life by Dennis Maulsby is a journey into the past and a peek at the future. We live; we die. We are touched by both. Some parts leave scars, others laugh lines. Maulsby forces one to think about both experiences with broad meaning but concise precision. The flashes of brilliance force one to pause and remember one’s own brushes with death and glory in the joy of living. It reminded me that pain sometimes makes me feel close to the kind of life I dreamt about, but somehow, reaching for it with frustration as I fall short of my ideal.
The war experience is described in short bursts, similar to a soldier’s reaction in a firefight.

Time seems frozen and infinite but, in hindsight, was fleeting. Life is confusing, and death is final. At times Maulsby’s verse scratched off the scabs from old wounds compartmentalized somewhere in my warrior memory. Life is dance, music, rain, flowers, and birds on wings. Death is final and universal. Maulsby takes the reader by the hand and meanders between the two with great skill. Veterans should read the book. Lovers of free verse poetry shouldn’t miss the opportunity to walk hand-in-hand with the author.

Military Writers Society of America Reviewer: Michael D. Mullins

Book now available as a Kindle ebook.  You may purchase a paperback or ebook copy of this book by clicking on one of the following links:


Prolific Press