Writing Prompt #5 — Are You Ready? – Derek Barton 2020

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“Death is coming to you, today. Are you ready, Steve?”

Stephen Caldero nearly fell off his aisle seat. His head reflexively snapped up from the newspaper article to stare in the wrinkled face of an elderly woman. She had wisps of blonde mixed into her thick white hair. Her spectacles were pushed high onto the bridge of her nose. She sat in the middle seat of the bus bench, clutching an umbrella and a rolled up copy of Newsweek. A slight smile on her face and the question shining in her pale blue eyes.

“What?  What the hell did you say?” He shouted back, his face turning red.

She recoiled, whimpering. “I asked if you had read the weather report for today? I forgot to this morning. I’m sorry.”

“Everything okay back there, Ms. Richards?” The bus driver called out, watching in his rearview mirror and glaring at Steve.

“Um yes,” she replied.

Steve now reddened with embarrassment. He shook his head. “No! No, you didn’t. You said ‘Death was coming for me’  Why? Why would say that?”

Ms. Richards blinked back at him, she straightened without replying and walked behind them to sit three rows away from him.

Must’ve been dreaming. I… was up pretty late, but, man, that seemed so real.

He couldn’t bring himself to turn around and apologize. The bus ride was quiet and without incident to his stop at Bronx Ave.

The gray structure housing Pottermen & Felsby resembled more a modern prison than the prestigious accounting firm. He worked as Accounting Researcher II for nearly a year in his three years tenure with them. He glanced up at the towering building and wished he felt more satisfaction or pleasure from his employment and career.

He entered the quiet lobby and made a beeline for the elevators. When he pushed the button it occurred to him then just how little enjoyment or pride he got from the position. What had he really achieved?

Death is coming to you, today. Are you ready, Steve?

The words paraded in a loop inside his mind.

“Certainly not,” he growled low to himself as he entered the elevator doors.

 

****

 

In the western corner, he had a modest office with glass walls to somewhat isolate him from the noises of the work

floor.  The fourth wall behind his decade old desk had a dirty window framing an ugly, crowded parking lot below. He kept the blinds mostly pulled tight to keep the sunlight and glare off the computer monitors. It didn’t help much to drive out the ever-present gloom. The florescent lights were a harsh purple-white.

Steve sat down with a sigh — the day was doomed to be long and tedious.

Accountants did not die of natural causes. They gave up and volunteered. The bad joke crossed his thoughts adding to his inner turmoil.

He glanced at the calendar planner spread across the desk top. It had scribbles and notes all over it like an alley wall of graffiti.

April 29th,

  • -Marketing @ 9:00, -Meeting with Grace H, -After lunch conference with Timothy K. -Death.

He jumped at the sight of the word, splashing the office door and walls with the remains of his Starbuck’s coffee.

Shit shit shit shit!

His eyes locked on the word, his skin prickled and the hair on the back of his neck rose in tuffs. His hand came up to stifle the building scream in his throat.

A knock at the door made him jump again out of his chair. “What?”

Through the fake plastic wood door he heard the muffled words, “Mr. Caldero, do you need paper towels?”

Sheryl Lehman leaned over and peaked around the door to look at him through the glass. Concern mixed with curiosity battled for position on her pudgy face.

“Uh, yes, thank you.”

He knew before looking back down at the calendar the word would not be there.

Death? What in the hell is happening?

He studied the date and appointments.

April 29th,

  • -Marketing @ 9:00, -Meeting with Grace H, -After lunch conference with Timothy K. of Derath Inc.

Sheryl entered and started mopping up the desktop. He took a few towels and cleaned off the door with shaking hands, thanking her with numb lips.

“It’s okay. It’s gotten to all of us, Mr. Caldero,” she said.

“Hmmm?”

“You heard, of course, about Joe Barness? Weird world we live in, huh?”

Steve watched her a second as he tried to recollect who the name belonged to. “Was that the front lobby clerk, right?”

“You had to notice he wasn’t downstairs this morning,” she replied, throwing away a pile of used paper towels. “He was mugged last night on his way home. Shot and left in a pile of trash bags on Hamperton. He’s alive at Metro Regional, but they don’t know if he’ll recover! Lordy, so sad!”

“That’s horrible.”

“It just proves ya gotta live each day like it’s your–“

“Shut up, Sheryl!”

Her jaw dropped at the cutting remark. Her face frozen in shock and hurt.

“I’ve got it from here. Uh..um, sorry.  I’m not feeling well.” He shrugged apologetically.

She left, not bothering to shut the door. Steve grabbed his laptop and newspaper. He was going to work from home today.

 

****

 

“Floor 3, room 2AB,” the nurse pointed to the elevator bank on the right of her circular station desk.

Steve nodded.

He wasn’t close to Joe Barness and spoke occasionally with him

about football drafts and such from time to time. Yet he was compelled to see the man. He even had a card and a small box of chocolates in his hand. It felt lame to bring a gun shot victim chocolate but was there anything typical or even appropriate?

Moments later he found the room and Joe lying under several sheets and a blue blanket, hooked up with multiple tubes and wires like some sort of dimented Christmas tree.

No one was visiting.

“Are you family, sir?” A man asked him from behind another circular desk.

“No. I work with Joe,” he answered. The nurse grimaced but Steve cut him off. “I won’t be long — I don’t think he has anyone here to stop by. I thought it would help maybe leaving a card and a gift for when…when he wakes up, ya know?”

The grimace melted from his face. “Okay. Yeah, go ahead. Just don’t stay long or try to wake him. The man’s got a helluva battle ahead.”

There was a single cold metal chair in one corner of the ICU room. It was drafty and had a permanent, stale chemical smell. Steve sat down without bothering with the lights. He put the box down with the card on a shelf. No one else had sent anything. It was a truly lonely way to die.

What am I doing here? I barely know him. 

You’re here because of the death threat. His dark thoughts scolded him. You are here on a purely selfish hope that if you show this dying man one little bit of kindness then you’ll be spared from the Grim Reaper! You selfish asshole!

Go home, go back to…

Joe’s eyes were open. They were boring into his.

Steve gasped and shrank back into his chair. The man’s finger rose slowly and stabbed at the opposite corner of the room. A thick gray curtain hanging from the ceiling blocked most of the light from entering and the shadows were deepest there. Something inside the black alcove moved… or at least he thought something twisted in the pitch black. Something that had been there all along, but hadn’t moved until it was pointed out.

Words crawled out of Joe’s lips, words barely audible but held a power over Steve.

“He’s here for you, not me.”

 

****

 

Steve’s breath caught hard inside his chest, spasms wracked his whole frame and he wheezed from exhaustion and effort. His massive oak bed frame, a family heirloom he’d inherited from his grandfather, now leaned against the mostly empty china cabinet which was also propped up against the door.

YOU are a complete fucking idiot! He whirled to scan the apartment. All four of the apartment windows had been covered with furniture and mattresses. Every lamp and light in the small condo had been turned on, eating away any trace of shadow. Even the kitchen table had been dragged into the living room to block the twin balcony doors. It was an impressive amount of effort, but it was completely fruitless at the same time.

How do you stop Death Incarnate from entering your door? It’s completely implausible that your Serta  Pillowtop Mattress will do the deed, dumbass!

He rubbed at his sweaty scalp and pulled at his cheeks with both hands in his anxiety. But what am I to do?  I’m not just going to give in. I’m too young! This isn’t fair. I’m only twenty-three goddamn it!

Coming up through the floor vent, Steve heard a loud bang followed by several shouts.

“Oh god! It’s here!” He moaned in pity. His heart leaped into his throat.

More shouts and then slamming doors could be heard.

“FIRE! FIRE! EVERYONE OUT!”

Steve’s shoulders dropped. His hands hung limply at his sides. Seriously. A fire, huh? He could swear he already smelled a whiff of smoke in the air.

He grabbed at one corner of the bedframe and struggled to drag it an inch.

While it seemed an eternity, less than ten minutes had passed as he clawed at the blocking furniture. He managed to squeeze past his door to stand in the smoke-filled hallway.

He was not going out this way! The Calderos had always been a family of survivors and fighters. His older brothers had both been in the military branches and his father had died on the streets as one of the city’s most decorated police officers. Perhaps now Steve could prove all of them wrong. He was going to make it! The mantra beat like a drum in his head.

A brief second in the stairwell at the third floor landing, he had a bad scare. Flames had already brought down the tiles and support beams to block his path. He ran back to the fourth as the building had two stairwells on opposite sides of the structure. Desperation put extra energy in his strides.

Just as he shoved the door to the other stairwell, a sharp and high-pitched cry came out from the gloom.

“Help! Help me!” It was a child’s voice coming from one of the apartments.

 

****

 

Sandee Mitchell, eight years old and left home alone, shivered in a brown blanket wrapped about her shoulders and back. Smudges of smoke and ash had darkened her hair and caked along the base of her chin and neck.

A female EMT tech was wrapping swathes of gauze around her burnt arm as Sandee rested on a stretcher in the back. A male EMT was hooking up a bag of saline.

She stared at the coil of bed sheets at her feet and the length still tied at her waste. They hadn’t gotten around to taking it off her yet.

Fresh tears spilled down her cheeks.

The male EMT leaned down to her ear. “It’s okay, honey. You’re safe now.”

She didn’t look back or even acknowledge him. All she could focus on were the stranger’s words as he rushed out onto the patio. The stranger who had burst into her apartment and found her balled up outside.

“I am ready. You’re not taking her! I’ll go!” The stranger had spoke aloud as if in an argument.  It had been his fourth trip to get bedsheets. 

“What?” she asked him.

At this point, the fire engulfed the top of the building. Smoke billowed around them as he frantically tied the knotted sheets around her.  He then wrapped a blanket around her to protect her from flames and heat.

“Hold on tight to this, don’t let it slip!” He shouted to be heard over the crash and roar of the inferno. “I’m going to lower  you down. I’m making you an honorary Caldero!”

But it was his last words which haunted her at nights, stuck to her soul. He kept screaming it out in the air as he lowered her from their apartment patio.

“I AM READY! YOU ARE COMING FOR ME ONLY! YOU HEAR ME?”

 

 

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I took a little liberty with this one, but it was too good to not try!

 

 

 

 

 

 

First Sneak Peak of Evade Part Two! – Derek Barton 2020

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EXCERPT OF EVADE PART TWO:

Stewie Portier scrubbed a hand along the back of his neck and up through the thick nest of matted gray hair to his receding hairline. It was a peculiar subconscious move to clear his mind, like a cat preening in the wild.

Standing at the corner of an alley set between a large twelve-story tower hotel called The Cordant and a more modern strip mall, he scanned the restaurants, the body shop, and a new medical marijuana dispensary. He wanted to make sure there were few if any eyes on him as he entered the narrow alley.

His temples throbbed. The internal voices were arguing inside his brain, back and forth, the sound frequency increasing with every word.

They were telling him – no – insisting it was time to take down The Cordant. It was a historic building erected in the heart of the downtown district in 1902. Stewie knew the fire would be amazing, glorious as any spectacle the city had ever seen.

Currently, the owners were in several court disputes, trying to get special permission to restore it. They faced resistance from the City Historical Society. Due to a court injunction against new construction, it was rumored the owners were financially at risk of going bankrupt.

It made this the perfect opportunity to light it up. The owners, of course, would appear the most suspicious. Many would claim his fire was for the insurance payout. Thus taking any possible investigation in another direction and would keep the heat off of him.

Eventually, he might gain the police’s attention, arrested then taken back to the institution due to his so-called illnesses. In his opinion society didn’t understand him or others like him. He shared the familiar story of many patients living on the street after being institutionalized. He was without a home, without family or support, and dumped into an nameless void.

“Out of sight and out of mind,” he would often say. Yet, given his penchant for making fires, if society didn’t see him or pay attention to another beggar on the street, then it was all good for him. It was a double-edged sword.

Since his last release, Stevie lived in the alleyway two blocks from The Cordant. His daily routine involved watching security make their rounds and monitor activity around the building.

However, this morning, new voices were telling him to find the child. Find the boy who was in the back of the PPD cruiser he saw earlier when he was panhandling near the freeway. It was gnawing at him, distracting him even more than normal.

Seek him. Seek him out.  HE MUST SEEK.

Willing himself to ignore the insistent voices, Stewie zipped his gray hoodie that had the word SECURITY sewn across the front. Then he slipped its hood over his dirty Eagles football cap. On his shoulder, he had a one-strap black backpack. The awkward weight strained his back.

He was confident his face was shrouded in black, but he carefully avoided looking at the security camera above his head. It was installed to protect the back of Angelos’ Deli, making sure no one broke into their back door or fiddled with the locks.

On the opposite side of the alley was a set of rusted double-doors chained together. They led to the bottom floor of The Cordant. One afternoon while pretending to look for aluminum cans in the trash bins, Stewie discovered the doors left unlocked – the padlock left hanging open. This happened once three weeks ago, but he had not been prepared to do anything about it.

Then it happened again four days ago. This time, he raced over to his grocery cart, plucked out a similar brand padlock he’d swiped from the Home Depot on 18th Ave, and replaced their lock with his. The building was his for the taking.

He knew his time was limited. There was no telling when they’d come back to check on the door, do more than a cursory pass, and discover the new lock on the chains. Once they did, they’d cut it off and replace it with one of theirs and he’d miss out. Yet, he had to have The Cordant.

The empty hotel would be his biggest fire yet and was ripe for the picking. His count so far was seventeen minor fires in Philadelphia itself and maybe twenty more serious fires in the Jenkintown area, his hometown.

The Renalt Institution, where his father committed him at age 10, was the best and biggest fire to date. It was the same institution he was violently raped repeatedly by the floor’s night shift orderly. Seeing the flames lick the sky and devour the structure of his worst years, it was… cathartic and the best therapy he ever received.

Unfortunately, he served time. He’d been careless and attracted police attention by cheering and clapping at the scene of the fire. The ashes on one sleeve gave them cause to search his Chevy where they found his gear and fire-starters.

After his original case was appealed on the basis of mental instability, he was transferred to another institution. He guessed it was his fifth at the time.

As he unlocked the chains and slipped inside the empty building, he wondered what the boy in the police cruiser had been arrested for. Did the boy like fires the way he did? Maybe he could find…seek…the boy out after tonight…

No, don’t be stupid. Why do you want to talk to the kid anyway?  Ya’ ain’t one of the pervy touchers so, why do you…

I must seek him though. It has to be…

He rubbed the back of his neck again and raced his hands all through his dirty locks. This time he even added a good hard rub to his patchy goatee and scrub-beard.

Focus on the fire. Focus on whatcha doing, dumbass! Stewie heard the words almost as if his father was standing right behind him. He flinched, waiting on the hard fist to crack him in the back of his head or in the kidney.

He cautiously peeked behind him. No silvery specter shaped like his long dead father appeared. “No, of course not. Dad’s not here. Come on now.”

He slung his backpack onto the floor. Doublechecking his equipment, he opened the pack for an inspection. Inside were a couple rolls of duct tape, eight cans of lighter fluid, two cans of paint thinner, and three broom handles wrapped with cloth for torches.

Tied to his belt was a metal-handled flashlight. Switching it on, it highlighted a long foyer and cavernous meeting hall, which flowed into a wide-set of stairs leading to the next level. He jogged over to it.

Inside the hotel, he felt stronger and more determined to make the fire happen. The boy would be around to find later. A whispered ‘Seek’ echoed softly in his right ear. He whirled and shined the light on the area, but it only pinpointed clouds of dust and a long dead grandfather clock standing in one corner.

Stewie chuckled at his nerves, straightened his shoulders, and marched like a soldier to the steps, climbing to the next level.

Starter fluid was at the top of his plans. He’d soak couches and any other furniture he could find. Then he’d trail a line of it along the stairwell, finishing with a massive mixed puddle of leftover fluid and paint thinner.

Starting two separate fires at the ends of the trail was risky, but it added to the excitement and the intensity of his fires. Possible death, disfigurement or extreme pain added to the entertainment elements and would ramp up the energy at the same time satisfy his desires. Highlight his satisfaction at fooling the police too.

Nearly fifteen minutes later, he was in the top level of the old structure. A conference room close to the landing would do well for his purpose.

He retrieved two of the torch brooms and soaked them in lighter fluid. Then gathered chairs around a dilapidated, dust-covered table. Some spray paint covered paintings and torn tapestries left in another conference room were added to the pile of chairs. Many of the rooms were empty, any valuables long gone.

As he was about to give up, he located what appeared to be a penthouse suite. The rooms were scattered with old trash, but the bedchamber had a massive bay window and a door leading out to a fenced-in patio.

He tore down a trio of rose-tinted draperies and dragged them to his little bonfire.

It’s go time, he cheerfully thought.

Seek. Seek him, NOW! The voice ordered him, speaking over his left shoulder.

Stewie whirled, ready to run.  No one was in the room with him. Sweat popped out along his brow at the same time a chill climbed his spine.

Ghosts? Well, so what? The building was ancient and would soon be rubble and ash.

 

An open canister of paint thinner in hand, he raced back to the stairs. The trail was thick, fumes mixing with the dust from the carpeted steps.

At the bottom, he was in the foyer again, but it didn’t take long to find the stairs leading into the lower two levels of the basement and hotel storage units.

The last of the paint thinner spread slowly, an almost elegant glassy pool in the middle of the cluttered, junk-strewn storage units. This was where the hotel left their unwanted or abandoned items. The old trash would feed the fire well.

Stewie’s breath grew labored as he pried open some of the fences to the units. He dragged broken desk pieces, rickety chairs, wooden headboards, and even a few coat racks closer to the paint thinner puddle. He leaned against one old desk, catching his breath, trying not to breath in too much of the fumes and thick dust.

Why is it so damn hot, he wondered. As he took off the hoodie to tie it around his waist, he caught sight of his arms. The skin was ashy, wisps of smoke wafting slowly from the pores.

Did I get some thinner or lighter fluid on me? He rubbed the hoodie along his arms trying to wipe the stuff off his skin. It didn’t have any effect.

He raked a shaky hand from the back of his neck through his matted, sweaty hair once again.

Stewie shrugged angrily and stormed the stairs. He needed to get this done so he could track down that boy. This was taking too long.

Maybe I should do this tomorrow? Surely, they wouldn’t notice the padlock one more day.

Smelling the fumes in the air, it brought back some of his zeal to bring the old lady down to her cinders.  His manic toothless smile grew again.

When he reached the fourteenth-floor landing, he dug in his faded jeans’ pocket for one of the many lighters he carried at all times.

The bonfire pile ignited like fall leaves. Stewie hesitated, gripped with an overwhelming desire to watch the flames reach out, slide across the floor tiles, climb the walls, and devour the chairs, to witness it come to life before his eyes. But it wouldn’t be safe to stay long. The fire already flared along the hall’s trail of paint thinner on the stairs.

He was mesmerized by the amber beauty. It was a living, dancing gemstone that performed for him like a lover he hadn’t touched in years.

If you stay, you’ll never find the boy. Seek him! SEEK HIM!

The words broke his trance and he blanched at the sight of the pyre before him. Most of the room was engulfed, including the ceiling tiles above his head. Small chunks and burning embers were raining down around him.

He ran and dove over the reaching flames blocking the doorway. The skin on his left arm was singed and welted with second-degree burns. Tumbling and rolling in the hall put out the parts of his shirt that were on fire.

On his knees, Stewie was scared, witnessing how fast the old wood walls and framework were consumed by the fire. Although dazzled and charmed by the sight of the flames, it was not his wish to burn to death. He wanted to create more fires and it galled him that he may have robbed himself of the chance.

And he craved to learn more about the boy!

The words, Seek the boy, came out of his mouth unconsciously and repeated over and over in a monotone loop.

In a frenzied descent of the stairs, he made for the hotel’s back door. Rather than seeing, he psychically sensed it and experienced a surge of raw energy. It rushed through him and raced along every nerve in his body as though struck by lightning. His feet tangled, making him stumble down the steps, again catching fire in the paint thinner trail.  At the next floor landing, he writhed on his back for several agonizing seconds, striving to put out the flames.

The pain from the burns along his arm, neck, face, and right shoulder subsided some. Yet, the rushing raw sensation of energy that hit him remained like the dull ache of a broken bone.

The image of the brown-haired boy from the police cruiser, hovering in air surrounded by rings manifested in his mind’s eye. A faint glowing cloud of red light surrounded him. At the same time, the calling command inside increased in its power.

Something had happened. Something which involved the child and the red rings. Instinctively, Stevie knew it was a new form of fire he never experienced before, but he wanted to have more. It literally reignited his race out of the building and spurred his mind to action.

Finally, at the bottom level and the expansive foyer, he flew across the floor toward the double doors. The bottom levels spewed black smoke from their stairwell and heated air baked his skin red, stretching it tight.

Stewie lunged at the door handle and sprawled headlong into the alley. Somewhere inside, he was dimly aware he neglected to put his hoodie back on and exposed his face to the security camera’s recording.

But it didn’t matter now.

Seek him! Seek him! Seek him! Seek him! 

Like the fire that devoured The Cordant, his brain was ablaze and consumed with a new fire.

EVADE Part One BOOK RELEASE!! — Derek Barton 2020

In case you haven’t heard or haven’t seen my latest newsletter (Hey?  Why aren’t you on my email list? Thought we were friends! hahaha).

EVADE PART ONE IS OUT!!

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The balance for Evil has tipped in Hell’s favor…

On the day Detective Lindsey Korrey should be celebrating the closure of her biggest case, The Nurse Catcher, she’s caught up in an intense police car chase.

Rory, a missing child case of three years, has fallen under her protection. Someone — or something — wants him back.

Chased down and hunted by a supernatural enemy, Lindsey must evade capture at any cost.

Yet their road is full of hidden dangers.

The Seekers emerge out of every shadow…around every corner…

With twists and turns, extraordinary characters, action, suspense, and a mystery with pulse-pounding revelations, EVADE will take your breath away and leave you wanting –needing to know more!

Ebook $2.99       Paperback $7.99

EVADE Trailer 2020

 

GO GRAB YOUR COPY TODAY!!!

2020 Bio Blog — Derek Barton

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So it has been since 2018 that I’ve done a bio blog about myself. I tried to really find some interesting questions. If there are any questions you might have, feel free to send me any email or leave a comment. I am very open to answering.

 

Base information you may not know:  My real name is Derek Barton (no middle name and not a pen name). I have a half-brother Alec who lives in Florida near my father and my mother lives in our home state of Indiana. I live in Phoenix (since 1996), married to my wife Erika, and have three children (Johnathan 19, Jenna 18, and Jessiena 4). I’m a full-time supervisor of an insurance marketing company. I was born in 1970 and grew up in the 80s (hair bands still rule!)

What shows are you into?  Like my book genres, I tend to like both horror and fantasy shows. So Game of Thrones (except the last season) is my all-time favorite show with Dexter (except for the last season!! C’mon can’t you guys get it together in the end?!)

How often do you play sports? Rarely any more. Would like to get back into racquetball again once we are out of the quarantine.

What skill would you like to master? I would like to also get back into weightlifting again – not only for health reasons, but I found it did help with stress as well.

What do you wish you knew more about? The other skill would be making better book covers designs. I really need to get into a  Photoshop course!

What mystery do you wish you knew the answer to? What are ghosts? Are they really former people and if so, why did they choose to be in this form or choose to stay behind?

What’s your favorite genre of book or movie? Again I like the two genres of horror and fantasy, but this time I would have to say horror more than fantasy. Check out my prior blog on my top favorite horror films! 

What fictional place would you most like to go? If I had the chance, I would find a way to see the future like in Minority Report or some other sci-fi flick like The Fifth Element. I love fantasy but future technology would be awesome to see.

What game or movie universe would you most like to live in? As I stated above, the future would be an amazing time to live in, but if not that then the epic fantasy world of Skyrim would be also a great experience. I’m into the whole magic thing — maybe not out facing dragons by myself like the game, but you get me!

What was the best book or series that you’ve ever read? Stephen King’s The Green Mile Series (they were first published as five small novellas — hmmm does that sound familiar?) would be my first thought. Then of course the whole Game of Thrones Fire & Ice Series. Many others could come up on this list — like R.A. Salvatore’s Drizzt Do’urden Book Series which is absolutely phenomenal and filled with characters I could only hope to achieve!

What are you most looking forward to in the next 10 years? Writing more and more books and getting better with each one. I don’t  have any reason to stop — my expensive hobby completes a part of me and if there are fans of it too then that is also incredible! The other aspect that I’m looking forward to is seeing my baby girl grow up! Jessiena is such a wonder and fascinates me — I really had no idea what being a parent could be and now I can’t imagine life without her around.

Who’s your go-to band or artist when you can’t decide on something to listen to? I love heavy metal and dubstep (heavy metal techno), but when I need to write I put on classical or epic music. Bands like Godsmack, Audioslave, Stone Sour, Linkin Park, or Deftones would be my answer.

What would be your first question after waking up from being cryogenically frozen for 100 years? Did I get a new body or still stuck with my starter one?!

What is something that a ton of people are obsessed with, but you just don’t get the point of? The Kardashians come first to mind, then I’d say most reality shows especially cooking. If I can’t eat it, I am not spending an hour watching you make it! Don’t taunt the fat guy, he’ll bite!

What piece of entertainment do you wish you could erase from your mind so that you could experience it for the first time again?  The Lord of the Rings movies would be great to relive.

What do you have doubts about? I doubt a lot of personal things but my writing of course is always important to me so I want to make it the very best I can. I often wonder what have I missed or how can I make it better.

What would be the scariest monster you could imagine? If you notice and some of you have pointed it out, I have a lot of spiders in my stories. Yeah, tarantulas are definite nightmare material to me. The worst I created so far would be the massive Gray Mother in the story, The Bleeding Crown. 

What challenging thing are you working through these days? I’m working on Evade, my new horror suspense series and trying to tie that all up, but the one that makes me gulp anxiously is the last of the Wyvernshield Series. It has some really big things coming up and even though I think up these things, it’s another to write it down coherently and also make it entertaining. I am excited to get started on the last book yet I dread it! hahaha  Coming in 2021 hopefully!!

When was the last time you changed your opinion/belief about something major? My ideas of politics in general have changed within the last three years. I’m not going to get into it as that is a very volatile subject with people, but I’ll say that I never realized how big an impact politics and government really  do have in your normal day to day life. The decisions other people in charge make can literally mean your life or death indirectly or not. It won’t always work to ignore it and keep your head in the sand.

What’s your best “my coworkers are crazy” story? Once during a company “secret santa gift exchange”, a coworker overhead another lady ask for anything cow-related. She had a collection she wanted to add to. My coworker friend who was friends with her took it upon himself to give her a gift even though she wasn’t in his team exchange. He bought her a real frozen cow tongue! Funny as hell (the look of disgust and shock on her face as she unwrapped it) but sick at the same time!

What are some of your favorite holiday traditions that you did while growing up?  Halloween is a big one of course. Dad always made a big effort to put me in costume and it was a special time for the both of us. The other would be of all things, Easter. I couldn’t wait to find those damn eggs! It was my scavenger hunt (which I seem to really secretly enjoy). Jessiena seems to share my same thoughts on holidays (although “pwesents” from Christmas is starting to edge out all others!)

What’s the weirdest way you have met someone? Well…my wife and I met at a “Lock and Key Event”. A singles thing where men were given keys and women given locks on necklaces. Gee, no symbolism there!  Anyway, we didn’t “click” with our key and lock, but when Erika approached me and chastised me with “You paid $20 just to sit here and not talk to anyone?”, the event didn’t matter anymore… And thus the beatings, I mean, the love began!

If you had to choose one cause to dedicate your life to, what would that cause be?  Fighting for animal rights or protection. I don’t do enough of that — no one can — but it is important to me. Some of the stories of abuse you hear make you wonder how I’m a human and that same person is a human? How can they do such a utterly horrid thing and still be related to me?

Which fictional villain is your favorite? Agent Smith of The Matrix movies was incredibly portrayed by Hugo Weaving. Pinhead from the Hellraiser movies. Then there’s the villains Loki and Thanos of the Marvel movies… so there are a lot out there to choose from. That’s too broad of a category for me to answer.

 

Alright well, I hope that wasn’t too boring and it gives you a little insight to my mind and my life.

Hope everyone is being safe and remaining healthy in this trying time!  Thank you again for all your support!!