Slipping Through an Open Window – The Thief in the Night

Russ photo 2An open window. Moonlight. That’s how it came to me.

This is going back almost 25 years ago now. I kept seeing the scene. Two hands perched on a windowsill as a breeze blew the curtains in. And then the story took shape.

A single burglar sneaks in through a second story window, to rob the place. Yet while he’s in a supposedly empty house, he encounters, well…I don’t want to say too much, but what was intended to be a quick in-and-out job turns out to be so much more.

Essentially, I had a one-act play in mind, in three parts. It was a fun situation; it made me laugh. And yet…I wasn’t quite sure what to do with it.

Fast forward to Shore Leave 2013, sitting at a local diner, and our Crazy 8 Press man behind the engine Bob Greenberger directed us all to do an anthology, The Tales of the Crimson Keep,so get your ideas together.

While I nodded and said okay, sure, anything you need, Bob, I’m in…on the inside I’m thinking oh, crud. I’m lousy at short stories. I have no idea how I’m going to pull this off.

And then it came to me. The Thief in the Night.

I had the scenario, I just needed the set up.

And now, in just over a month, this goofy comedy of errors I envisioned 25 years ago finally has a shape and a place to land.

It’s still fun, and funny, and maintains the integrity I always had in mind. But as often happens while clacking the keys, this story of mine started in one direction, and through its own momentum took me down some surprising corners, which is what happens when you write a tale about The Crimson Keep.

The world of wizards and demons doesn’t quite work like the one you and I know. It has its own rules, its own logic, and its own way revealing trap doors when you least suspect them.

Which is exactly what I wanted for The Thief in the Night. Because when you slip in through windows when the moon is full, you should never think that what you’re looking for is exactly what you’ll find.

Tales of the Crimson Keep will be available in print and digital editions on August 1.

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