New Avenues to Me — Derek Barton 2020

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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.

 

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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.

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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:

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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.

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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:

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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!!

 

 

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!!

New YouTube Page! — Derek Barton 2020

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In case you weren’t aware, I now have a YouTube Channel with several book trailers.

Elude Vid

Crime/Horror-Suspense Series

CWC Vid

Epic Fantasy Series

Hidden Vid

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!

 

March Sale! — Derek Barton 2020

 

From March 1st through the 7th, you can get these two online ebooks for just $1…!!!!!

That’s right — Two great series openers for just a dollar each during this limited time.

 

Also both are available on Audible for your listening pleasure.

 

 

The Chase is Still ON — Elude Part Two Audiobook ON Sale Now!!

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S. W. Salzman brings my epic grim detective story to life!

ELUDE –

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.

ONLY $4.86 NOW on Audible.com 

Don’t miss out…Click here for details.  

 

LAST Sneak Preview – Chapter Three from EVADE (Rough Draft) — Derek Barton – 2020

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CHAPTER THREE 

The air in the police car became stuffy and a faint moldy odor permeated the interior. I wondered how old the vehicle was and how many times the inside had to be scrubbed clean due to drunks. “Can you maybe turn on the AC?” I asked. ”Or maybe open a window? It’s a little warm in here.”

“Yeah, not a problem,” Josh replied, rolling his window down. His demeanor had softened since I acknowledged who I really was and who I was picking up at the airport. 

 

Guess my dirty laundry had been talked about a lot around the station.

Five months ago, after the eighth nurse turned up dead in Denver, Colorado, I took the plunge and went rogue. I took an extended leave of absence, claiming I needed to take care of a cancer-riddled aunt then requested a long bereavement when she died. Of course, there wasn’t any aunt. 

It was eventually exposed. I’m guessing Jessie made a call to rat me out during our divorce. Anyway, my work history file was permanently stained by it.  Yet, in all, I didn’t have any choice and it was worth every bit of what I paid. 

I went undercover and took up the chase for the Nurse Catcher on my own. Every day for four straight months with no bureaucracy to bulldoze through or finagle. 

Flew out to Denver on my own dime, used every bit of information I had on this brutal serial killer, and hunted the wintry streets without backup.  I think I got close at some point. He must’ve sensed me somehow and fled the city.  

 

When all the leads had dried up and while I waited for an expected ninth victim, I found a computer hacker and blackmailed him to gain access to an international investigation records database.

We learned a name, Lawson Daniel Torv, from the illegal research.  A man under investigation for the deaths of three nurses is what stood out to me. It fit the profile and his history in Australia where he was born worked within the timeline our own investigation had developed. 

They lost this Lawson Torv during their own manhunt, but the case remained open. The detective-in-charge, a Douglas Carber’s notes gave me some important factors which guided me on a hunch to Las Vegas. 

Within weeks, bodies of two more nurses showed up there. 

My instincts again told me he already moved on, but I pursued his trail to San Diego. When his newest victim, Kelli Thompson, in San Diego was found, it sealed his fate.

 

I truly hated that I couldn’t discern his actual location before Kelli was mutilated and murdered. The only positive was when her remains were discovered, it sent out a beacon to me, an exact spot to hunt for him.  I understood his pattern by then and what rules he had adapted. 

Torv, The Nurse Catcher, would drift along from city to city looking for ideal households on the outskirts of cities. He would rob and murder the resident owner or owners, keeping their remains hidden in the basement or garages. From there, he’d stalk the local college campuses. 

Once he chose his victim, he waited for the prime opportunity to kidnap her to his new home. There, he’d take his time, rape and torture for four to five days, then he’d butcher them with an axe. Afterward, he’d take their remains to an area picked out for its difficulty to traverse. 

Being a big man, ex-military, athletic and incredibly strong, he carried the remains in burlap sacks and dumped them in thorn patches or heavy shrub cover. Sometimes, he buried them in shallow graves under fallen trees. He knew he would have a long head start before anyone found them.  Some of the women continued to be missing. 

I suspected Tawnie had to have been one of the first in America.  He displayed her like a calling card or some freakish grand announcement to the United States and Australian authorities. It was like he was flipping the bird to all authority. The Australian investigators hadn’t picked up on it and the investigators here chucked it up as just another sexual pervert serial killer born and raised in the Heartland.

Without the effort I made, I wonder how long he’d have gone on. How many more deaths and innocent victims would have met their fate at his hands?

I am no hero, but I did step up. They can’t take that from me.

It cost me a bad marriage, a possible executive position in the police force, and nearly my pension. The only reason it hadn’t been harsher was the fact I practically took the San Diego police force by the hand and walked them to Torv’s front doorstep. Along with the fact he was caught with the homeowner’s body and the sisters saved me from facing charges or severe disciplinary actions.

The shock and frustration on the massive man’s face when they arrested him was worth every bit of the fallout from my stint of illegal vigilantism.       

As the police car entered a four-lane freeway tunnel, further ahead came a shrill shriek of tires and brakes followed by the echo of metal meeting metal. The impact was loud and peppered with shouts and other aftershocks of minor crashes.  

Goddamn it!  I’m going to be stuck in a traffic jam on the most important day of my career — seeing the smug bastard step down the steps of the plane in handcuffs and a police escort, walking right into my charge!  I have to be there!

It was literally life-fulfilling to me. He was going to know who had taken him down. Sure, I had been there at the arrest along with a dozen others, but I wasn’t allowed time to interrogate him or even ask for the locations of the missing girls’ remains.

When he was with me downtown at Headquarters, I would get my almighty moment. Like the families of all his victims, I wanted — no, needed closure. The days of not having to think of The Nurse Catcher, obsessing over where Lawson would be that night, questioning what else I may do or what I hadn’t thought of to bring him down were almost over and life for everyone involved could move forward.

My eyes met Officer O’Dell’s in the rearview mirror.  “Goddamn it, O’Dell! If I have to get out on foot and run along the cars, I’m going to do it!” 

He shook his head. “No. We’re not at that point yet. We’ve got time and this.” He bent down and flipped on the sirens and lights. Slowly traffic worked to get out of their way, letting them get by.

I heaved some pent-up breath and rolled my tight shoulders trying to release the stress. The little arm wrapped in mine hadn’t left. I looked down and met the prying gaze of the boy.  

“I have a very important appointment at the airport, but don’t let it worry you, angel. It won’t be long before you’re back with your family.”

“Nope,” he whispered. The tiny voice and simple word of denial struck me like a slap. A hopeless taint to the core of his statement. A finality.

“No. It’s going to be okay.” I tried to reassure him again, but his eyes were covered by the thick sunglasses so I couldn’t read their impact upon him.

From the front seat, Officer Brandon turned around. He showed a big “gotcha”-smile. “So…You can speak, tiger.  What’s your name?”

The boy didn’t say anything to him and stared out the driver’s side window. He did, at least, keep his arm where it was and held my hand.

I leaned over and whispered, “If you tell us your name, I’m sure we could stop along the way and get you a soda…or maybe a scoop or two of ice cream.  It’s really important we get you back with your family.”

He only continued to study the passing cars.  Brandon turned back around, letting me work with him.

Shawn managed to squeeze the car past the three-car-and-delivery-van-pile-up we heard before, but there was at least a half-mile of tunnel still left to go.

I sat quietly, waiting for a reply, but the little man had a thick wall he didn’t seem to be ready to let me through.

“You know I’ve always wanted a little boy like you. In fact, my dream as a young girl was to have two children, a boy and a girl, to spoil and take everywhere with me. I set up tea parties with boy and girl dolls all the time. Once I even had a picnic in the park with them but forgot to tell my mom where I was going. The look of relief when she found me was…”

I let the words fade off when he whispered a word, “Chocolate?”

“Yes. We could get chocolate. Right, Officers?”

They agreed loudly.

He raised up, cupping his lips with his free hand as he whispered, “Phelps. My name is Rory Dillon Phelps.”

I let go of his hand and squeezed him with a warm hug. Then I spoke out loud for the officers. “There. That wasn’t so hard. Thank you, Rory Dillon Phelps.”

A loud, music-thumping and smoke-filled Honda Civic stayed in front of the patrol car, ignoring the sirens and flickering lights. In actuality, there wasn’t a place to go as the cars in front and alongside their lane were sitting idle with no room or shoulder to maneuver.  O’Dell turned off the useless noise and lights.

“It’s only 9:48 AM. We’re going to have to wait a bit here though.”

“Okay,” I acknowledged. “Hey, in the meantime, have Dispatch look into finding his address. Maybe they can contact his family?”

Brandon swept up the radio receiver again. “X1718 to Dispatch. Over.”

Seconds later. “This is Dispatch, X1718. Were you able to pick the boy up?”

“Yes, ma’am. He appears to be seven-years-old with some minor cuts and abrasions, but otherwise, he’s fine. His name is Rory Phelps. Can you locate an address and maybe contact the family — tell them we should arrive in a couple of hours with him.”

“Couple hours?”

“We have serious traffic right now due to a pileup in the Bennington Tunnel. Depending on where he lives, we could be earlier or later.”

“Noted. We’ll get the information back to you shortly. Over.”

Ten minutes passed. The early heat of the morning was building and the car’s AC had little effect as I checked my cell phone over and over.

“Dispatch to X1718.”

“X1718 responding.”

“This is Officer Carter again. I wanted to confirm with you the name of the boy. You reported Rory Phelps, correct?”

“Yes. R-O-R-Y  P-H-E-L-P-S. Over.”

“X1718 please switch to Priority Line 2A.” She was guiding them to a classified radio frequency. Nothing good was said on those lines.

“X1718 reporting on 2A. Over.”

“Dispatch reporting. Hey, fellas, what’s going on?”

“What’s wrong, Sheila?”

“If you have the same Rory Phelps I’m finding in the database, then you’ve got a child reported missing since 2016.”

Shawn snatched the receiver from Josh’s hand. “Sheila, this is Officer Shawn O’Dell. Hey, uh, can you give us what exact information you’re finding?” 

“A Rory Dillion Phelps was abducted while on a historic tour of the Foxworth Mines in 2016.  The bodies of his murdered parents were found, but his surviving sister, Bethany–”

Rory cried out, “BETHANY!” He hugged me, weeping into my shoulder.

The three of us stared at one another in shock and dismay at his reaction.

“…was not able to describe what happened. Some sort of traumatic amnesia blocked the details.  She currently lives with Kenneth Gerard, her guardian in Drexel Hills,” Sheila continued.

“Have you contacted them?”

“Not yet, I didn’t want to give them any false hope if I didn’t have the right information.”

“He had a pretty obvious reaction to the name of his sister. Contact her guardian as soon as possible.” Shawn handed the receiver to Josh.

“Dispatch, we will see what other information we can get from the boy.”

“Understood. Dispatch over.”

As Josh replaced the receiver, Shawn tromped hard on the brake pedal.  I hit the back of the seat as Josh smashed his head and shoulder into the dashboard.

“What the hell, man?” he snapped.

The Civic from earlier stopped moving forward and Shawn nearly rear-ended them.

 

Smoke leaked out around the windows of the Civic and filled the interior with a blinding fog. It remained motionless even though the traffic moved ahead on both sides.

As Shawn prepared to swing around them, the car’s passenger door popped open and a young black youth stepped out. Dressed in red basketball shorts, a red cap, and a white Chicago Bulls tank top, he raised both hands in mock surrender. He held a glistening silver vape pipe in one hand which he pointed at them like a pistol. 

“What the hell?” Brandon repeated. He went to roll down his window, but O’Dell grabbed his arm.

“Not this time. Chill,” he ordered.

Shawn shook his head at the cocky youth and twisted the steering wheel to the right, pulling the car over, blocking both lanes.

The driver of the beat-up lime-green Civic did likewise and went diagonal to block both lanes, too. 

“You ain’t leaving this party so soon, little piggies?” The black youth shouted as he sauntered over to O’Dell’s window.

 

“Aw, shit!” I didn’t like the way this was going.

The driver’s door opened and two more boys climbed out, one white and one East Indian. They were dressed alike in red caps, t-shirts, and red shorts, obviously fronting gang affiliation. With no regard for the police officers, they marched up and stood in front of the cruiser.

His eyes on the youths, Shawn swung the car’s computer console toward him. On the screen, he typed in the license plate HMN 2027.  Honda Civic.

The screen blinked and refreshed with a picture and name of the Indian teenager: Khota Katri, Age 17, Street Name — KK. No current warrants. Suspected gang affiliation to The 27th Street Crew Gang.

Josh rolled down his window. “Back the fuck up! Now!” His voice crackled with pent-up fury. He then leaped out the door before Shawn could throw the vehicle in park.

“You were asked a question. It’s rude not to answer,” Khota quipped, standing his ground when Josh got in his face.  KK was a couple of inches taller.

“Get back in your car now or you’ll go downtown.” Shawn roared at the first youth through the window.  

“Stay and protect the boy,” he snapped at me. He started to open his door but stopped when the youth walked back along the cruiser, smiling at Rory and me. 

“Well…My, my, my. Now I see–” the words dropped off as his jaw went slack. His eyes took on a confused, dazed stare, losing the mirth she’d just seen in them.

At that exact moment, something changed in the air. It was similar to the charge of static in the air gathering before a lightning storm, then a snap or like something breaking. It was something very palpable. Unseen but present.

The youth continued looking at us, but his mouth had closed, and the smile vanished. He raised his hand, the one without the vape, and pointed a slender finger at Rory.  He mouthed, I seek you. 

I spotted thin wisps of black smoke rising from the skin of his forehead and the skin along his cheeks.  

Holy shit! What is going on? My instincts flared to life inside. My heart raced in a sudden surge. The unnatural smoke coming out of the youth’s pores scared me to the core.

“O’DELL!” I screamed, “GET US OUT OF HERE. DRIVE BETWEEN THEM AND GET JOSH!” 

The tricky scenario triggered a reaction in both police officers as well. Josh retreated, one hand gripping the Glock on his belt, the other one raised, ready to stiff-arm any charges. The two boys cackled like human hyenas at each other but didn’t move nor had they taken on the scary effect like the first boy.

What the fuck was that smoke?

Josh leaped into the passenger seat as the black teen yanked hard on the back door’s handle, but all four doors were locked.  

 

His eyes were distant and reacting as if in a trance. Could it be from the pot they might’ve been smoking in the car? Something told me there was more to it. As a detective, the eyes are always the first thing I study. 

Shawn swung the vehicle over and used the cruiser’s bumper bars to nudge the Civic aside. 

I kept my focus on the first teenager. He clung to the door handle and was dragged a few feet before letting go as the police car left them. The other two were laughing and acting like they were celebrating a Super Bowl touchdown at a block party.  This was a highlight moment in their lives. 

A whisper from Rory caught my attention.

“Lindsey?”

I looked down at him. 

“JESUS!” I yelped and clasped a hand over my mouth in sudden terror.

Rory’s face was peppered by beads of sweat and his cheeks were reddening as if sunburned. He was curled into a ball, floating a few inches in the air above the black leather seats. A narrow line of fiery amber light encircled him. As it slowly revolved around him, I could barely discern odd symbols and letters in the glow of the line. Panic filled the child’s eyes. 

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)!!