2020 Bi-Monthly Goal Breakdown – Derek Barton

Goal 2020

 

With the New Year almost upon us, I have been working out my upcoming goals and what I’d like to see as far as successful production for 2020.

With a lot of excitement, I am hoping to publish my new suspense/supernatural horror series, Evade! And with a lot of joy and sadness, I will be wrapping up my epic fantasy collection, the Wyvernsield Series. While this may be a “goodbye” to current beloved characters, I am already toying with a story idea with new characters beginning this time in Aberrisc!

As you know if you have been reading any of my goal planning posts, I like the bi-monthly process breakdown. This method has proven to generate the most goal success for me. I’ll be continuing the process, but this time with a larger “arching” picture in mind. I’ll be planning the entire year, broken down in two-month objectives by Work In Progress.

Overall Goal Summary: This year’s production goal is to publish four books — Evade Parts #1,2 & 3  and the last book in the Wyvernshield Fantasy Series.

Works In Progress Goals:

EVADE

January – February

  • Complete writing for Book #3 (anticipated 25,000 word count) 
  • Edit Book #1, Book #2
  • Craft Book Blurb
  • Purchase/design book covers for all three books
  • Publish Book #1

March – April

  • Edit Book #3
  • Publish Book #2

May – June

  • Publish Book #3

WYVERNSHIELD BOOK #3

March – August

  • Complete writing (March through August — anticipated word count 100,000)
  • Edit book (September through November)
  • Publish in December

April – May

  • Purchase cover
  • Write up a book blurb
  • Look into a future Set Collection of all three books

Writing goal

  • 125,000/12 mos
  • Evade Book #3 25,000 — 12,500 per month, 3,125 per week, 625 per 5 days
  • Wyvernshield #3 100,000 — 17,000 per month, 4,250 per week, 850 per 5 days

Marketing goals

  • Once per quarter do an ad (Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads or Amazon)
  • Buy new table & cart
  • Buy banner stands
  • Find/design a book stand
  • Buy Metal Bookmarkers for new books
  • Once per quarter do a local book signing
  • Participate in one national comic convention if possible
  • Expand email list
  • Once per quarter do a giveaway
  • Donate older book versions to libraries

So this is the 2020 Plan but as they are “goals”, these are subject to change, subject to incompletion, and subject to postponement! LOL

While 2019 was a tough and emotional year for me and my family, it turned out overall a very important and rewarding year. In the end, I learned you just have to have faith all will work out and have faith in yourself that you have the strength to see it through!

I wish all of you a successful and happy new year as well!

The Witcher — Review of Eps 1# through 3# — Derek Barton – 2019

Witcher

The new sword & sorcery fantasy series called The Witcher has come out on Netflix this week.  Originally the main character, The Witcher was introduced in a book by Andrzej Sapkowski called The Last Wish. It grew even more attention when it was adapted for a video game series under the same name in 2007.

The Netflix series follows the main character Geralt of Rivia, The Witcher, played by Henry Cavill as well as a young princess called Ciri (actress Freya Allan).

In a dramatic opening, The Witcher bursts out of the water entwined with a massive, mythic spider-like creature called the Kikimora. Thus, you see the heart of the show.  Geralt is a hated and yet sought after warrior who hunts and destroys monsters for coin. His “kind” is said to be mutated humans, but the show has not elaborated as of yet what’s truly different.  He does use elixirs and other sources of magic to boost his natural abilities. I found the first episode a bit heavy-handed with exposition, but you definitely see a good story brewing. A young princess has been tasked to find Geralt and “her destiny” in order to save the world.

Then the second episode, titled Four Marks, came on and brought a much better and intriguing storytelling element. The episode introduces a new character, Yennefer, a hunchback girl (played by Anya Chaolotra) who accidentally discovers she has untapped magical abilities. Her father is so disgusted by her, he actually sells her into servitude for four marks (coins) during the same trade exchange he sells a pig for ten marks. Her plight and struggle pull you in immediately.

The third episode of the show is centered around a creature, a Striga (an unborn fetus cursed to become a monster inside the womb which later tears itself free) who has been hunting and slaughtering residents from a small town and its workforce of miners. By the way, I will say not only has the story improved and its character development, but the show’s special effects are pretty spot on.

I cannot give you my opinion if it follows the story canon from the books and/or the video games, but I will say it is worthy of a viewing if you like either Game of Thrones or Lord of the Rings. It is in its infancy as a show so it does wobble now and then, but Game of Thrones had eight seasons to really define itself and make noteworthy characters so watch with a little patience.

The first season of the show has been completely released on the streaming service. I am already hoping for a second season!

 

By Derek Barton — Author of the Dark Fantasy novels: Consequences Within Chaos and The Bleeding Crown.  Also the author of In Four Days: a Horror-Suspense Novella, the series Elude: Part One, Part Two & Part Three (horror/crime thrillers) and The Hidden (Classic Horror)!!

Sneak Preview Chapter One from EVADE (Rough Draft) — Derek Barton – 2019

Scary Horror Wallpapers 9

I know…I know… I released these chapters out of order, but I have my reasons madness. Either way, I hope you enjoy this and I’d love to hear what you think of it so far!!

Enjoy!

 

CHAPTER ONE

I sat in disbelief, dumbfounded by the vapid car sounds…Click, click, click.

I just cannot win. “Of all days, do NOT do this!”

My shrill voice carried and echoed in the empty police garage parking lot. The tone of desperation in it pissed me off even more. I was in my apple-red Chevy Impala, in its assigned lot 2B-18, sitting several moments now in an apparently stalled vehicle.

Suddenly inside my head, a woman’s happy laughter followed up by her voice floated up from the depths of my buried memories. It’s fine, Lindsey. I’m just going down to Harvey’s for a burger then off to bed. Take the night and I will see you tomorrow. We’ll catch up then.

I could still hear the audible click as she hung up the phone.

It was Tawnie’s cheery voice.

I was the one to find her the next morning behind the dorm. The image of her bloody corpse flashing before my eyes. She was on a grassy hill, splayed out on display atop of her soiled nurse’s uniform, hacked apart by an ax. Other witnesses had found me later passed out at the base of the hill.

Stop! I have no time for this. I shook my head, frantically banishing the thoughts back to their subterranean vault. Stop, just stop…

Taking a deep breath, I held it and mentally recited a prayer before turning the ignition once again. Click, click, click cliiii….

I exhaled then punched the steering wheel hard with my fist. “You son-of-a-bitch! I’ve gotta go!”

“Detective Korrey…I think it’s dead,” a gravelly voice spoke out, right behind my left shoulder.

I jumped and let out a surprised yelp, twisting violently to see who it was. A patrolman with a thick head of red hair and a bushy goatee had been leaning down into the driver’s side window. He straightened immediately backpedaling with his hands raised to calm me. “Sorry, ma’am. Didn’t mean to scare you.”

“It’s…it’s okay,” I stammered. “You just caught me off guard.”

Carefully, I removed my hand from the grip of the pistol at my belt. Behind him and to left was another patrol officer waiting, slightly shorter and thinner, with short-cropped brown hair and a patchy brown beard. He caught my eye and gave a quick nod.

My cheeks grew hot. I was embarrassed by my startled reaction.

“We are just coming on duty. Did you need us to jump your car for you?” The first officer offered. His badge plate said O’DELL.

Sighing loudly again in frustration, I paused to collect myself, pulled my hair back behind one ear, then said, “Normally, I’d take you up on your offer, but I’m already running late. I’m supervising a prisoner extradition pick up this afternoon. It’s not something that can wait. I hate to ask this—”

He cut me off. “But you’re gonna need us to drive you there. The Phil?”

“Yeah, I’m due at the airport by 11:30.”

The other, younger officer looked at his watch, his face tight with obvious irritation. “It’s going to be close with downtown traffic at this hour.”

“We’ll make it happen, detective.” O’Dell extended his hand to me through the open window. “Officer Shawn O’Dell. That’s Officer Josh Brandon.”

I shook his hand and smiled up at him. “Detective Lindsey Korrey of Homicide Division.” I didn’t know these officers, but I was relieved they respected my position enough and were willing to help me. Pulling any type of rank was always emotionally hard for me to go through with. Often as a woman in charge, I’m usually challenged or hard-pressed in situations when I had to give orders or take lead.

I opened the door, grabbed my purse and locked the car. “Where are you guys parked?”

Officer Brandon pointed to a patrol cruiser in the opposite corner of my vehicle. X1718 painted on the door and hood. “You’ll have to ride in the back, unfortunately.”

 

****

 

“Dispatch to X1718. Do you read?”

Officer Brandon leaned down and swept up the receiver. “X1718, copy.”

Officer O’Dell, the older officer, the obvious veteran, was driving as protocol. During the first couple of years, rookie patrol officers rode with seasoned, trained patrol officers until they proved themselves. He spoke out loud to me. “I’m going to take the 611. If we’re lucky we can take it then head down to the I-75 to 291 which will loop back to the east side of the airport.”

He was making an effort. I liked that. I didn’t get the same sense of commitment from Officer Brandon.

The radio crackled with life and a Dispatch Officer, Sheila Carter, cut in, “X1718, head over to Brandywine St & North 21st Street. A male child has been found abandoned.”

“X1718, copy.”

“Speak with a Fen and Chun Zhao. They’re the owners of The Golden Hour Dragon Restaurant and found the boy in their parking lot.”

Josh glanced at his partner, who nodded his approval back at him. “Copy.  Show X1718 en route, Dispatch,” Josh responded.

“Uh, guys…” I spoke up. “Remember, I cannot be late.”

“Detective Korrey, I understand your concern. I do. However…” O’Dell shrugged. “It’s an abandoned kid. We don’t have a good reason to give if we don’t get him first and something happens to him while we are at the airport with you.”

The weight of his argument settled on me. My shoulders sagged. I had no answer to it.

“Look, it’s a simple stop and pickup. Then we’ll take you to the airport before heading back to Headquarters with the kid.”

In the rearview mirror, I caught a glimpse of myself. My lips were squeezed into a line and worry lines creased my forehead. I couldn’t find any sound excuse to override the officer’s points.

His voice dropped down low and conspiratorially, “This isn’t a normal prisoner transport, is it? This is about the ‘Nurse Catcher’, am I right?”

Josh’s jaw dropped and he snapped his head back to openly stared at me.

Shit! Here it comes.

I reluctantly nodded. “Yes. A week ago, Lawson Torv was captured in San Diego, and we’re flying him in to face charges for the three murders here. It’s been hush-hush to keep the press away. He’s used chaos and crowds to escape before so we’re not taking any chances this time.” I tried to ignore Officer Brandon’s scrutiny, but I was embarrassed again.

“You’re that detective?” he muttered.

“Josh!” O’Dell admonished him.

The young officer abruptly turned to face ahead.

“I know how important this is for you. And I told you I’m going to get you there, okay?” Shawn continued, trying to reassure me. “We get in, get out, nothing much to it.”

I took a quick glance at my cell phone. It read 8:37 AM.

Twenty-three minutes later, we pulled into the parking lot of The Golden Hour Dragon. Immediately, we spotted an older Chinese man sitting next to a white, brown-haired boy with a bowl-haircut, skinny build, and scabby knees. He had on a pair of sunglasses, a fur-lined yellow winter jacket, and dark blue jean shorts. The boy didn’t appear to be in any distress or worries.

The two patrolmen got out first then Officer O’Dell opened the back door to release me. I stayed behind and leaned up against the cruiser, crossing my arms and watching.

Officer Brandon strode over and squatted down in front of the boy. “Hi there, champ,” I detected an obvious change in his demeanor. He was good with kids.

“He hasn’t said a word,” the older Chinese man stated. “My name is Chun Zhao.” He nodded to Officer Brandon then to Officer O’Dell and me.

“Do you know where he came from or which direction?” Shawn asked.

Anxiety was building up inside me. My instincts told me there was something wrong with the whole scene. I couldn’t put a finger on the why of it, but the feel of the situation set my teeth on edge.

“No. Actually, it was my wife, Fen, who found him standing on the corner.” He pointed at the intersection of Brandywine and North 21st. “He was standing there, dressed like this, staring up at the streetlight. I was afraid he was going to cross it alone.”

Shawn inquired, “You’ve never seen him before then, Mr. Zhao?” 

He shook his head no.

Josh followed up with, “And there was no one else with him or walking around? Do you think someone left him here?” 

“I didn’t see anyone and, no, I don’t think Fen did either.”

Leaning in closer, he examined the kid with his eyes but didn’t see any apparent bruises or cuts. Smiling at the boy, he straightened then unpinned his silver badge. As he held it out before the boy’s face, he said, “Do you know what this is?”

He waited for a response. The child studied his hand then looked up into Josh’s face. He made no attempt to smile or respond, only continued to stare.

“It means I’m a police officer. Do you know what a police officer does?”

Shawn said when the boy didn’t answer. “It means, as an officer I protect you. You can trust us. We won’t hurt you.”

The boy slowly turned his head away and faced the cruiser.

Shawn mistook the boy’s message. “She’s also an officer. We’re here to help you. You’re not in any trouble. We just want to make sure you get home okay. Your mommy and daddy have to be very worried about you.”

The boy didn’t shift his eyes and kept watching me stand next to the patrol car. An awkward smile of my own formed on my lips.

Shawn and Josh glanced at each other and an unspoken agreement was made. 

Officer O’Dell said, “Okay, Mr. Zhao, are you and your wife able to come down to the station later this afternoon and give a statement?”

“Certainly. Is he going to be alright?”

The two officers nodded together. “We’ll take him downtown until we get things straightened and reunite him with his family. Thank you for calling us,” Shawn remarked.

I continued my attempt at a smile, certain my anxiety, and frustration with my lack of time were showing on my face. Josh led the boy by the hand to the cruiser. 

I loved children but had limited experience with them. I opened the car door for him to join me in the backseat bench. “Hi there. I’m Lindsey and this is Shawn and Josh. Are you hungry?”

The boy crawled into the back without acknowledging my words. I shrugged at Officer O’Dell and got in.

Normally children seemed to take to me. I always thought I’d be a good mother. Someday. Maybe now that Torv is caught…

You’d be a lousy mom, Lindsey! Jessie had screamed at me one night, one of our last arguments in fact before the divorce. You’re never ever home! And by the way, you can’t have kids if you don’t have sex!

Asshole.

He was right in some regards, but it didn’t take the sting out of his words either. Jessie wanted children and, of course, so did I, but the Nurse Catcher case was too involved, too engrossing for me to consider any other endeavors at the time.

I owed it to Tawnie.

“Alright, champ. We’ve got to take a brief ride to the airport then we’ll see to getting you home to your family. Okay?” Josh said.

Several beads of sweat popped up along the boy’s brow. It was then I realized he was dressed in a winter jacket and had a striped sweater underneath it.

“You must be pretty warm in that. Can I take off your jacket for you?” I asked, but he didn’t offer any reaction. He kept face forward and silent. 

Who the hell dressed their kid like this in July? I reached over and tugged down one side and the right sleeve. He didn’t try to stop me.

I found a pair of vertical scratches on the inside of his wrist and a pair of scabbed-over gouges at the base of his neck near his sweater’s collar. Dirt and black, chalky smudges were around his ear as well.

“Did you get hurt, sweetie? How did you get these…wounds?” I didn’t want to say it and upset the boy, but I immediately recognized the wounds as animal bite marks.

From upfront, Shawn uttered a couple of choice curses. “Get out of the way!”

I looked up from the boy and noticed a man, filthy and wearing a ratty t-shirt and a gray hooded jacket. It said ironically SECURITY across the front. Most of the man’s hair on top had fallen out or turned a splotchy white and gray. He stood transfixed and staring intently on the boy. Shawn honked the car’s horn and gestured for the man to move. The homeless man ignored the directions and remained transfixed.

Brandon rolled down his passenger window. “Look! If you don’t move, I’m going to get out and move you myself!”

The rookie’s face reddened as the transient disregarded his threat. “FINE!” he roared then swept up his soda can and hurled it at the bum. It caught him perfectly in the face and splashed leftover soda as it bounced up his forehead and flew behind him.

“OFFICER BRANDON! That was not necessary.” Shawn scolded.

A splash of soda dripped down the man’s leathery cheeks, but his eyes were no longer fixed on the boy. Josh had gotten his attention after all. His gaze was filled with an angry intelligence and malice, but there was something else. It struck me as the look from a man in the throes of insanity — a frantic uneasy restlessness running in tight circles in the dark. I shuddered as the back of my neck grew cold and clammy.

“Move along,” Shawn insisted to the homeless man with force in his statement.

The man shrugged and wiped the brown liquid off his thick chin. He turned and walked back to the sidewalk. As the cruiser went past him, the man pointed with a gnarled, ash-covered index finger at the boy in the seat and mouthed, “I seek you.” There was no longer an expression or emotion on his scrub-covered face.

“Freak!” I called out from the backseat as we pulled away.

An arm curled around mine and a tiny hand gripped my own. I looked over and found the boy had pressed up to my side in obvious fright.