Last week, I had the great honor of being interviewed and having EVADE showcased on the website ULTIMATE REVIEWER.
Jueneva woke, covered in thick orange and red animal furs, a glowing fire warming her new room. She could not even remember coming to the chamber, or climbing inside the bed, but here she was. Sighing loudly, she let the last few days events roll across her mind, weighing her down. It was so hard to let go.
In a sense she was relieved to finally understand why she was different, why her family always ran, why the world always seemed to teeter on a finite edge. Her true family were murdered when she was but an infant. Now her adopted family were also murdered. Those responsible she only knew by a broad name: the Kreszecs. Other than that she had no real information on who they were or what reasons they had for wanting her and for destroying her family’s rule here in Akkei Maliss.
A soft rap at the door cut into her thoughts. “It is Executor Buore, miss. May I enter?” His muffled voice came through the door.
She rose and stretched, pretending to not be emotional and tussling with her feelings. Her body ached and the desire for more sleep made it even harder to pull out from under the furs, yet she had other more pressing concerns.
The specter floated in and crossed the barely lit chamber. Only a small, mirrored vanity occupied one corner of her new quarters opposite the fireplace. In the other corner stood a tall dress cabinet. There were no real decorations like thick rugs or elaborate tapestries on the walls. Yet she was alright with the modest accommodations and often lived like this with few personal possessions.
“Good morn, Boure.” Today she found she could look him in the face and not feel the reflexive fear of the dead. He was good-natured and surely had been a great asset to her late family. He would be needed further in the future of Coueryere Castle.
“It is sure to be, your majesty.”
She jumped. The word majesty jolted her as if he splashed cold water suddenly in her face. Majesty? Hmmm. I guess he is right. And I suppose it would be better to start acting in that fashion.
“Executor, I have a few requests of you today.”
“I would be honored to fulfill those for you.”
“First, can you find me a weapon? I will be leaving the castle for a short spell. A bow would be my choice if you can make that happen.”
He frowned but nodded and bowed.
“I sense your disapproval. You often show your emotions openly.”
“It is only that I do not see the need to risk your safety. The ruins are dangerous inside and outside, but in here I can give you some protection.”
She found comfort in his overprotective sense of responsibility for her. He was like a long-lost uncle trying to step up and make up for lost time.
“The meat in the pantry I am afraid is too far gone for me. I want to hunt and restock the meat pantry. My father showed me how to track and hunt at an early age. Even said I had a unique talent for it. Perhaps that is another aspect of my Dirithi heritage?” She chuckled to herself and tried to not dwell on her pang of grief for him.
“You had other requests, miss?”
“Yes.” She sighed aloud and was unsure how to proceed. “When I came her two nights ago, I… I encountered… Well, you were not the first spirit I found here in the ruins. What or who is that Flaming Skeleton?”
Again, his face crinkled as he disapproved of the content of the conversation. “That Flaming Skeleton is not to be taken lightly, miss. He is not one of ours and not from this realm. He was one of the Krezsec Generals that invaded. Few of their invading army were stopped, he was among those few. Now, General Loas Toc haunts these hallways at certain nights and always he relieves his final hours. You saw the hanging men?”
She nodded, her face paled at the memory of the bloodied uniforms, spotted with flaming hand prints from the general’s touch.
“This is my family’s seat of power. He will not be tolerated much longer. I am going to have to find a way to expell his presence.”
The Executor only lowered his head to stare at the floor. He had no answers for her.
“Tonight, when I return I want you to take me to the Throne Room.”
Boure straightened and a smile cracked his face, he beamed with pride. “Indeed, your majesty. I will see to its preparations for your audience myself.”
That statement brought a strange thought to her mind. “There are others? Other court members or staff?”
He nodded. “Not as many as before – remember only the restless spirits remain here. Some have made peace and moved on.”
Before she could ask more, he bowed again and backed out of the room through the closed door.
Jueneva dressed and prepped herself as best as she could. There were several dresses hanging inside the cabinet but were not warm enough or proper for the cold elements outside. She found only one riding pantsuit. It would have to do. She could not be weighed down or wear anything restrictive if she was to hunt and chase prey. At the back on a hook, she did discover a thick deer skin coat with buttons and laces down the front. It was exactly what she needed for the wintery elements outside.
Another soft rap announced Boure’s return. He entered with no invitation this time. In his hands he carried a silver and ivory bone longbow and a matching white quiver filled with over a dozen arrows. Symbols were etched all along the exquisitely crafted weapon. She took it in awe and hefted it in her hands.
“This is wondrous. It feels like I am barely lifting anything!”
“Indeed. This came from within the Vault. I believed it was forged with guiding magics, but I cannot remember for sure. Either way, I am certain it will be of great use and affect in your hunting.”
As she lifted the quiver’s strap over her head and down onto her shoulder, he said, “I really do not like this idea. I feel I may be inadequate as your Court Advisor, but, your majesty, as there are no other formal Courtesans left, you will have to settle for me. You see, as I stated before, in the castle domain I can protect you, but I cannot leave the compound to help you outside. You will be all on your own. This is not a wise excursion. We will find another way to find you proper meals.”
Jueneva shook her head. “No. I will not be stuck inside nor will I hide here. The Restoration cannot happen to my family’s rule if I do not take risks or fight back. What happened here must be avenged. I appreciate your words, I do. And I do not step out lightly and without caution.”
Boure dropped his gaze again to the floor.
“Executor, please escort me now to the best entrance to begin my Hunt.”
“YOU DO NOT BELONG HERE!”
The intense words floated in Jueneva’s mind as she drifted between nightmare and awareness. The flaming skull growing and looming over her in her dream, casting her in its fiery red glow. Its heated breath roasting her skin.
“You do not belong here.” The spoken statement, less intense, was repeated in more of a concern or inquiring tone. And it was not said by the leering skull.
She felt a hand upon her shoulder, shaking her. “I say, this is no place anymore for the living.”
Her eyes popped open wide, startled from the touch. An older man, heavily wrinkled around the eyes and mouth, stood near her table bed, floating a few inches above the floor. He had a similar gray and blue uniform as the hung men she had seen earlier. His long white hair was pulled back in a single braid. Other than being semi-transparent and having a faint luminescence, she would not have immediately realized he was a spirit of some type.
The room around them remained pitch dark except for the faint outlines presented by her darkvision. His arms were folded across his chest as he patiently waited for her to respond.
His black eyes perplexed and frightened her. There was a depth and a high intelligence in them. This was not a simple aberration or manifestation.
She scrambled down from the table and crab-walked back into the farthest corner from him. Her arms wrapped reflexively around her knees and pulled her body into a tight ball.
The spirit rubbed at the side of his face and paused with his mouth slightly open in mid-statement.
“I see. Well, perhaps if you have some answers you will feel more at ease, no?” He bowed low, dropping his elbow before his face in an odd gesture or salute. He rose and tapped his boot heels together. “I am Court Executor Boure of the Coueryere Castle, once the ruling regime and residents here. And you are?”
He waited again for her to participate in the conversation. Jueneva was not in the frame of mind of conversing with a ghost. The multitude of stories told to her as a child flooded her brain with superstitions and fears. She could only hope the spirit would leave her alone soon.
“Alright. Well, this simply will not do, young lady. We cannot have you unattended in the labyrinth of the castle. There are… There are things that would not be pleasant for you to see or encounter. No more of such chatter on that. For now, I do observe that you are not properly dressed to be here, nor do you have any provisions or food it does appear. If you allow me to escort you, I can lead you to a proper bedding.”
Jueneva looked up slowly from her huddled knees but did not answer him.
He took it as a sign. “And while our Rule ended abruptly here many eons before, there are sealed food jars in our kitchen and the guard noshery. This endless winter is certain to keep most of it from rotting. Would you like to explore it, young lady?”
His polite form of speech and attention to decorum eased her tension some and the idea of eating broke down her guarded walls. She nodded as she rose to her feet.
“Then please follow me.”
It did not take long for them to reach the large kitchen area, which had four stone tables lined with black oak benches and shelving crowded with wax-sealed pottery jars. She kept quiet behind Boure, but took in the sights of the decorations. Most of it remained untouched, only dusted in fine gray and black powders.
He stood in the hall leading to the kitchen, barely inside the double-door entrance. Again, he crossed his arms over his chest as he kept his vigilance.
At the back of the kitchen hall, she discovered an inset fireplace nearly two body lengths wide and several feet deep. A wooden door partially open showcased a meat pantry and a stack of small water barrels.
After finding a box filled with cut wood, she made a cozy fire and set about prying open some of the jars. In moments, she had a plate of tough leathery jerky, two piles of cashew nuts and two more handfuls of strange green and red berries. The spicy meat did not sit well but the berries and nuts filled her up fine.
As she wiped her sticky hands on the sides of her stained blouse, she called out with a slight tremble in her words. “Thank you, Sir Boure. I am…I truly appreciate your assistance.”
He floated across the stone floor and hovered near her bench seat. “You are most welcome. Can we discuss your situation now?”
She nodded again, keeping her eyes on the floor. To stare into his focused, lucid eyes was too overwhelming. “My name is Jueneva Emaya.”
“As there are no easy passages through the DesCantan Mountains now, am I correct to guess you came via the Glass Mirror in the Shrine?”
“I think so.”
He rubbed again at the side of his temple, lost in his contemplation. He must have had that habit during his life and carried it forward into death.
“And by your garb and lack of supplies, you were not expecting to come to the castle?”
“I do not even know where I am exactly. Except… except that I have come to Akkei Maliss.”
He scratched at a spot between his bushy eyebrows, then folded his arms behind his back. “Anyone coming to Akkei Maliss and via sorcery at that, surely had to be in a dire emergency. Do you think you will be pursued?”
She hugged her arms to her body, cold shivers traversing her small form. “My family…” She choked with emotion. “Our enemies were stopped before I came here. No one witnessed my crossing.”
“Yet you really do not know what Akkei Maliss is, child,” he said matter-of-factly. “You were ill-advised to come to this haunted, cursed land. As I said earlier, this is no place for the living. You have come to one of the five Blackened Realms. Only Restless Dead reside in the Ruins of Castle Coueryere!” His voice had risen and gained volume. He shook with emotion and rage.
Jueneva stood her ground, somehow sensing his anger was not directed towards her but the cruel fate given to him.
“You cannot even fathom the dangers of the other four realms. Nothing can be saved in these lands — The Unformed, The Living Towers, the Land of the Bloodless. And even the dead cannot speak of what exists in The Swath. There is no hope to be found here. In truth, you came here to die!”
“NO! I may have come unprepared, but there was no other option but to return home.”
His jaw dropped, the words faltered before leaving his mouth.
“This castle was suddenly lost right?”
“Yes. One night as a mighty blizzard gathered outside, we were set upon by an unknown enemy who used the storm to hide within. They breached all our security, used magic to overtake all preparations. Within the night, it fell to a swift blade and all of us including the Coueryere noble family were wiped out. Our enemy stripped everything of value and left these rotting ruins. They robbed us of everything, including hope. Now the dead come here attracted by its well of misery and doomed souls.”
Jueneva stood up from the bench and crossed to the heat of the fireplace. She then knelt in front of it. The flames lit up her face and features.
“No, Boure. Not all hope. Not everyone died that night. The family of Coueryere held dominion here due to their powerful bloodlines and true heritage. My mother and father — my adoptive parents used to tell me bedtime stories. Told me of a faraway land governed by a family of mystical beings.”
He floated closer to her, trepidation in his eyes. He hoped and yet feared at the same time what he was about to witness.
“Dirithi…” he moaned in awe as he took in the sight of her illuminated features. Her true heritage of blackened eyes and ivory, spiky skin.
He sank to the ground, collapsing upon his knees and prostrated before her with his hands clenched over his head. “So long! So long without a light to cling to.” His words were muffled and mashed together as he said them like a chant over and over.
She put her hand upon his shoulder. Softly she spoke into his ear.
“I will, I swear before you, regain our power over this realm. Fate has bound me with this charge. I must bring about The Restoration.”
Last year I started a series of writing prompts on this blog that were later collected and published in the 12 Months of Hell & Horror Day Planner. There was one story, The Flight of the Dirithi, that took on more of a fantasy theme than the modern horror theme of the other tales. Yet like many of the other stories I’ve had occupying my thoughts and demanding to be written, this The Flight of the Dirithi nagged and prodded me to be further explored.
So…we shall together explore and travel the path beside this young Dirithi as she runs for her life and freedom. As she escapes to her destiny…
This first part will be the introduction I wrote last year (with some edits) then with a small addition. I want to add to this story every couple weeks — maybe a 400 to 500 word addition. I don’t want to promise more as I am deep in the development of the third book in the Wyvernshield Series. I’ve been promising this novel now for a long time and it wouldn’t be prudent to disappoint everyone again. I’m excited to get the story out to you too and I’m just as anxious to see the epic conclusion!
***Awesome Concept Art by Wonhong Kim, ArtStation
FLIGHT OF THE DIRITHI — 1.28.2021
Jueneva shook awake but didn’t raise her head off the cottony bed pillow. Another shrill scream pierced the silence of the early morning hours. She didn’t recognize the source, but thought it might have come from Yabina’s hut. A second child’s cries from another hut farther away joined the first, ending in sobs.
More shouts, deeper in bass, came from guards near the southern wall.
Cries of alarm sprang out all over the village. Jueneva squeezed her eyes shut, praying to wake from this sudden nightmare. Her breath burst from her. She hadn’t even realized she was holding it in. Her chest hurt from the effort.
“Jueneva!! Come! Come, child.” The last shred of hope she had faded as her eyes opened to see her mother, Ckala standing in the doorway to her room, her arms out and beckoning to her. In one hand, she gripped a thin, leathery pouch. A backpack straddled her shoulders, filled with their travel clothes and road rations.
“We know what this means. It’s over, nothing can be done now but hide. We must hurry,” her mother pleaded over the crash and clatter of men battling nearby.
Horses pounded the dirt paths as they charged past the front of their stone home.
“Kreszecs! The Kreszecs! Run. They have found us.” Other shouts echoed the call. The horses went deeper into the village, the messengers warning others in the bare light of dawn.
Jueneva grabbed her blanket and wrapped it tightly over her shoulders and head. Silent tears traveled down her cheeks. She thrust her feet into her leather thong sandals at the foot of her bed.
Father, brother…lost? They’re gone?
“Hurry up, we’ve got to get to the bridge,” her mother said as she grabbed Jueneva’s hand and hauled her down the hallway. “If we should get separated, head there and wait for me in that bed of tanglevines. If I haven’t come by sunrise, go under the bridge and find the three black stones. You’ll recognize them on sight. Dig through.”
“Where are we going, mum?” Jueneva grew even more scared at the sound of her own shaky voice. It had somehow diminished in the night, shrunken to the frightened pleas of a toddler.
“It’s not important where we are going, only that we get away from here. Please, run!”
Outside the door to their stone house, the air filled with shouts for help mixed with the screams for mercy. The sounds of battle echoed in from the wood gate house along Harner Road. Horses whinnied in fright, metal clashed with metal, wood cracked and splintered. Women begged while children shrieked. Thick and gravelly voices growled back in foreign, violent tongues.
Others were running as well, making for the bridge at the back of the village. It crossed over a minor rivulet of the Corafin River to the other side, bracketed by heavy pine tree woods.
The trek there lasted an eternity. Most of the refugees bolted over the river and into the surrounding forest when they arrived. Her mother took her and bypassed the bridge entrance, climbing down the short but deep embankment. Surefooted, her mother made a direct run at a pile of three, smooth black river stones. She let free Jueneva’s hand, used both hands to part the rocks. Underneath was a strong fishnet, covered in wet leaves and mud. “Help, Juenie. Grab the other end so we can drag it away.”
When they did so, the shallow mouth to a tunnel appeared. Immediately she realized the only way to go inside was to crawl on hands and knees. Terror gripped her heart. It would be pitch black inside and who knows what might have made the tunnel its home.
Ckala rummaged through the backpack and removed a silver box. It popped open revealing a smooth gold stone, glowing with an amber aura. The stone barely gave more light than a wax candle, but it was enough.
“Let’s go.” She plopped down on her belly and began to squeeze inside, ruining her traveling blouse.
Not one to be squeamish about mud or dirt, however, Jueneva balked. It felt wrong, dread coiling around her neck like a hangman’s noose. She would not leave her mother though, so she willed herself to enter the earthen grave, defying her instincts.
Inside the light illuminated enough only for her to see the soles of Ckala’s sandals as she crawled ahead. Moments went by without a word between them. In the silence of the river tunnel, her dead father’s and brother’s faces appeared in her mind’s eye. Fresh tears and sobs choked her, stopping her from trailing after.
“Shhh. Shhh. child, we’ll be alright. Shhhh.” Her mother tried to calm her.
Jueneva shook from cold as much as from her emotions. Water dripped down her back from the tunnel’s ceiling as foul stenches burned her nose and made her gag. This was not a proper life. What horrid fate did she wake to? Nothing was going to be resolved.
When the sudden grief eased some, she had to ask, “Mum, why?”
“Why? Why are we always hunted?” Jueneva was nearing her twelfth-moon cycle. All her memories revolved around them being on the run. It wasn’t normal. She noted by her fifth-moon that other families could put down roots and live in seeming peace.
Her mother stopped and twisted to look down the tunnel at Jueneva. The pain in her eyes spoke volumes.
“I never wanted this type of life for you, sweet-tears. There is a curse lying in your veins.”
“What does that mean? Did Da and Je’steo–“
Her mother shook her head violently. “No! Not now. We grieve another sunrise. Not today! We must run so their sacrifice won’t be for nothing. The Kreszecs will never stop hunting us.”
“I do not understand.”
“Someday it will be clearer to you, but for now, we have no time to work it out.”
“No! Tell me the true reason we are different. Please! I have to know!”
The words came slowly and whispered in the dark like all dangerous secrets. “You are Dirithi.”
Dirithi? Dirithi! A half-dragon offspring. The last heirs of dragon blood. Not human, not dragon. Shapeshifters.
“No more talk. Come!”
The single word consumed her and bellowed like a tempest inside her skull. It explained so much and yet conjured so many more questions.
They took up the hike again under the river. The winding tunnel went deep underground and paralleled the rapid stream.
Finally, faint dawn light shined through the exit. As her mother crawled out, she graced Jueneva with a broad, relieved smile. Seeing it light up Ckala’s face, her own smile crept out as she stood on her feet, covered in grime.
An arrow whistled through the air, catching her mother in the shoulder, rocketing her backward, tumbling to the ground. Another arrow hit the ground between Jueneva’s sandals.
“Svaklan, I told ye they were predictable. Right where I said, right when I said. No?” A man spoke in an ugly, thick accent but spoke with robust confidence as he came down the embankment on the back of a brown horse. He had a crossbow in his arms, an arrow already loaded and trained on her.
Ckala didn’t answer the man’s taunts, only shook her head in stubborn defiance. Her lips pressed into a thin line.
Another man with a pair of long ponytails gliding down the back of his head, nodded and grinned through his thick black beard. “Aye, m’lord Kosoth. Ye do have the sight.” He strode over and placed a heavy, gray-furred boot on Ckala’s chest as she remained prone and panting from the pain.
“Indeed,” the Kreszec Arch Lord said as he rode his horse up a few feet in front of Jueneva. He then followed up with a mock bow. “All these wasted years, but here we are, the end of our storied chase. The Gryatt is mine and will be returned after all.”
Kosoth looked down at Jueneva, meeting her wide eyes and terror-filled stare. “Aye, ye do have but good reason for fear. The deep darkness ye will bring under my command will be of legend. The power I’ll have will be even more!”
Ckala slapped the ground at her side, getting Jueneva’s attention. “No! No! Jueneva, remember above all else, you must survive at any cost and grow stronger!”
Before the bearded Svaklan could react, her mother thrust the small leather pouch into the air and struck it hard against a pine sapling along the muddy riverbank. As a gold and silver talisman dropped from the pouch, Ckala screamed, “Akkei Maliss!”
A blast of fire and wind erupted, an intense magical pulse throwing all apart from each other.
Jueneva laid on her back inside the tunnel, her breath stolen away.
What was that? Was it from that talisman?
“…remember above all else, you must survive at any cost and grow ever stronger!” Ckala’s words repeated to her.
After several moments, she could breathe normal again, and she struggled back to the tunnel entrance.
She was ill-prepared for the sight before her.
The horseman lay pinned and struggling weakly under his beast, while Svaklan laid motionless on his stomach partially in the water. The stream pulled and nudged at him, trying to take his body away downstream. Her mother’s form was twisted and wrapped around the base of another larger pine. Motionless.
But at the spot where the talisman had been appeared a mammoth watery circle. The talisman had been invoked and a silver, glass-like portal now stood towering over her.
It had to lead to one place…
In the distance, breaking branches and baying hounds could be heard. Other Kreszecs must’ve followed after the sounds of the magical explosion.
More words repeated softly inside her mind. We must run so their sacrifice won’t be for nothing.
To herself, she whispered, “I’ll go where my enemies will fear to follow.”
Per the legends passed down by the tribal elders, the world of Akkei Maliss was a world where the vilest creatures came to roost. In the past, even her mother, always so brave, wouldn’t dare to utter its name. This was a world where even the snow fell black…
This was a world where alone as a Dirithi, she would learn to survive and grow ever stronger.
She nodded to her mother’s form and whispered final words of love. It was time to act. She marched slowly but with determination and resolve into the portal to Akkei Maliss.
And she vowed she would return one day, and she would reign supreme once and for all.
Jueneva’s eyes opened, but her vision was clouded and blurry. She found herself lying face down, chilled stone bringing on a series of racking shudders. Rolling slowly over, she rose onto her elbows, her teeth chattering. A single rivulet of blood dripped from her nose and over her lips. As she wiped it away on her muddy sleeve, her vision gradually cleared to show her a series of intricate, marble stone tiles littered with dark purple glass fragments all around her.
The tiles were aligned into a circular paths, surrounding a small patch of gray, dead grass and weeds. The ivory, black-streaked marble dais she laid across had large, gaping cracks as well as missing patches of stone foundation. The damage could have only come from a massive land quake.
In the heart of the grass stood a twisted, metal framework, standing at least ten hands high. Some of the purplish glass shards remained in sections of it. Soot and ash buried everything else around her. She stretched out a hand to confirm her suspicion. It was as the legend spoke of — the dais had a thin blanket of icy black snow mixed with the ash and soot.
Jueneva remembered her determined exodus into the portal, but had no further memory afterward. Painful stiffness in her back and neck reminded her of the terrible explosion that threw her into the river tunnel, freed her from the Kreszec men, but also took her mother’s life. Before any tears could start, she clenched her jaw, straightened her back and took stock of where she had entered Akkei Maliss.
The dais sat in the middle of an enclosed circular chamber. Parts of the ceiling had given way long ago with rot and vegetation. Howling winds could be heard outside the holes in the roof, but only an occasional flurry actually entered. Long hanging vines grew along the walls and the ceiling, competing for space with multiple sections of charcoal icicles. Faded portraits hung on the walls at odd angles among torn cloth tapestries. Lines of an unknown language were engraved in painstakingly thin etchings and covered every inch of exposed wall. At the back of the chamber was an overturned wooden desk and several broken benches. Opposite to the desk, she spotted twin silvery unlit braziers on both sides a closed, barred door.
Wherever she was, it seemed it had been a site of importance. Perhaps even a place of religious origins.
Jueneva leaned over and lifted one of the larger pieces of glass lying among the gray grass. The surface was smooth and reflective like the surface of the quarry pond near their village. She held it up in awe before her face.
She threw it away with a sharp gasp. The glass’s image had lied to her eyes, her hand reflexively pulling one of her mussed ponytails before her face.
Her once blonde platinum locks were now a deep blue hue, nearly black in shade. Again she plucked a shard from the ground to see that her eyes were now completely black, no white or iris staring back at her. Little white spikes bristled at her jaw line near her neck and ears.
Dirithi… the cursed breed.
This new harsh reality, the brutal truth of who she really was did bring the unwanted tears. She sunk back to the ground, hugging her knees into her chest and buried her face. Never had she felt so naked, desperate and alone.
I wanted to check in with everyone and advise you of my current projects I’m working on.
NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) Challenge was a big help and success for me this year! I used it to help me get Evade Part III written, edited, and soon to be published by the end of the year!!
Evade Part II has been produced and sent in to Audible.com for their final approve to sell the audiobook probably by the end of December.
I am also working on a secret side project — hope to have more news on that before the end of the year. Check back here for more information!
I’m back to reworking the outline for the third Wyvernshield Series book. Been a very rough year for everyone and I certainly have felt it — the first time in six years that I had a serious snag in my motivation as well as production. Anyway, it appears that this has eased up and I’m ready to create once again.
I have decided to have one new goal: for a whole year, I want to write 400 words every day. Now, I won’t say this will be in stone or that I can reach the small goal every day, but it does give me a minimum to obtain. In other words, it will be easier to say to myself, “C’mon…It’s only 400 words. Stop being lazy, you can do this easy!”
By the end of one year, it totals to over 124,000 words (I am basing this on six out of seven days reaching 400 words). So for a nice kickstart to this, I wrote tonight 1,108.
Thank you all for your support and your fantastic energy which helps fuel my work! Got a lot more horror to share…
FOR THE NEXT TWO WEEKS, I will be selling all my Kindle Novels & Novellas for $.99!!
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EVADE PART I:
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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!
Stepping blindly into a horrific murder scene, a young ex-con, Vicente Vargas, must flee from the police while eluding the real killer who continues to pin more bodies on him in this intricate cat-and-mouse game.
Cut off from all friends and family, tried and convicted by the press, Vic must survive on his wits and cunning on the gritty streets of Phoenix, Arizona long enough to clear his name.
The city of Wyvernshield is under siege. A horde of beasts in the thousands threaten utter destruction.
Taihven, an untested sorcerer prince has one chance to save his country and family.
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I have been working hard on strengthening and fleshing out my two resources Pinterest and Patreon for you. These sites should give you even more access to me, my work and new materials I am developing.
For those who may not fully understand what Pinterest is, Pinterest is unique search engine for materials, reference resources and finding key elements that fit into your customized categories. In other words, I have currently fourteen “boards” (categories) where I can “pin” material that I feel fall into those categories. For example I have a board called Storyboard: Horror-Suspense & Crime Inspiration.
When I find an image that intrigues me, I can pin it and keep in that folder. I also have a board for my Fantasy images. This gives me a handy place to get writing ideas as well as show you the readers where I get some ideas. In my board From My Writer’s Blog I have six subsections with material showing my self-publishing tactics, some biography blogs, my writing prompt stories, etc.
Some of the other boards are: From My Writer’s Blog, My Horror-Suspense & Grim Fantasy Collection, My Newsletters, Book Reviews, Book Cover Artwork, Landscapes, Batman & Other Comics, My Audiobooks, and My Favorite TV Series.
I can also do my own “pins” like these:
Also on Pinterest I can place reviews on my books, details about my book & audio book giveaways, or I can share pins from other collaborators and authors I find on Pinterest. If you want to see my work or other things on my site, you can click here and “follow” me so you can see my contributions and additions to the site.
Patreon I have previously talked about here. I want to this year do even better at maintaining and providing exclusive access to my work. I have decided that I will be writing a fantasy novella based on this:
The novella will be seen in chapter installments only on Patreon and sold only in paperback format once completed with signature and customized metal bookmarker to my patrons initially. The other benefits for becoming patrons will still be there — now I just want to make it even better!!
Please see these two sites and let me know what you think of them and if you have suggestions, comments or ideas to provide even more value to you!!
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!!
In case you weren’t aware, I now have a YouTube Channel with several book trailers.
Epic Fantasy Series
Classic Horror Story
These are great reading during your WFH downtime or… Go to Audible.com and immerse you in these narrated novels!
Stay safe – stay healthy!! Thanks for all your interest and support!