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!!

 

 

Looking Back & Looking Forward – Bi-Monthly Goals — Derek Barton 2020

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It has been a while since I did a “Goal Blog” and I wanted to highlight what this Bi-Monthly System has done for me and what it can empower for you.

This is in no way a bragging post or “look at me” kind of thing. I’m listing these completed goals to be an example how much one could actually accomplish.

COMPLETED Goals since July, 2017:

(The goals crossed out are ones that I deemed not needed after all. The list of Uncompleted Goals are listed below as well. Also, not all of these goals were finished in the expected deadlines, but were completed and that’s why they’re on here.)

Finalize my Chapter Outlines for The Bleeding Crown

Complete the First Rough Draft of Bleeding Crown

Complete 52,000 words written (52 days * 1000 words)

Outline first two books of Elude Series

Write out three more Elude Sections

Compile and create an Ebook on the Writing Craft from my past blogs (completed but didn’t publish)

Design bookmarks for my books: 

Get the character portraits from artist by August and start getting Poker Card and Calendars made

Complete two Giveaways (one on Kindle Review and my own Indie Book Giveaway)

Complete one Newsletter a month

Create a book trailer video

Outline first two books of Elude Series.

Develop the list of Elude characters and develop their background

Create a NaNoWriMo Prep Folder in Scrivener and complete the list of development items.

On October 1st, start editing phase for The Bleeding Crown.

Design book cover for Rookie: Pitfalls of Year One.

Write new book blurbs for all my works and revamp all of the Amazon ads.

Complete a newsletter for each month.

Find a part-time post or two – extra income to help with new bills and investment in writing projects/marketing.

Start a new series of blog posts.

Complete NaNoWriMo Challenge: 50,000 words

Start Round #2 of Editing for The Bleeding Crown

Create marketing campaign for CWC Audio Book

Research Arizona Book and Comic cons.

Send out Monthly Newsletters by 15th of month

Keep up The Hidden saga on website every 2 weeks

Complete the 2nd wave of edits for The Bleeding Crown — Finish by 3rd Week of Jan

Start 1st wave of edits for Elude #1 — Begin by 4th week of Jan

Work on Cover for The Bleeding Crown — Begin by 2nd week of Jan

Complete story subplot and finalize The Bleeding Crown (25,000+ words) — Begin by 2nd Week of Jan

Finalize work on Marketing Campaign for Consequences Within Chaos Audiobook — Begin by 2nd week of Jan

Write a separate blog entry outside of goals and The Hidden Saga — Finish by 2nd Week of Feb

Complete Elude #3 book (30,000 to 40,000 words)

Have Elude #3 self-edited by the end of January 2019.

Professionally edited and published by the end of February 2019.

Set up another couple book-signing events for 2019

Complete the last chapters for The Hidden web saga

Started another web saga (Juxtaposed)

Look into the options for booth setups for my book showings.

Thinking about setting up a service to other authors for possible book cover design

Outline Elude new chapters for subplots and additional material – Finish by 2nd week of March

Finish writing new subplots/additional material – Finish by 3rd week of March

Complete 3rd Wave of edits & send out to Beta Readers – Finish by end of March

Complete 1st Wave of edits for Elude #1 – Finish by end of April

Complete the Cover for The Bleeding Crown – Finish by end of March

Get feedback from beta-readers – Finish by end of April

Complete the 4th wave and final edit for The Bleeding Crown – Finish by end of April

Complete the total outline for the third book of the Wyvernshield Series. Highest Priority.

Maintain a two-week production of the chapters for the web series, Juxtaposed.

Develop and begin the Evade Series outline.

Find a cover artist or design the Wyvernshield book covers myself

UNCOMPLETED GOALS:

Read one writing craft book a month

Prepare for book convention in Tucson

Get booth banners

Write 1,000 words per day – blogging, outlining, writing (61,000k).

Sign up for at least two comic-con/book festivals for 2019.

 

As of today, May 7th, 2020, I have 3 novels, 5 novellas under my name (starting back in 2016). I plan on writing through rest of my life, but it is amazing what I have worked through and accomplished by using these guidelines.

Truly it is all down to making a plan, sticking with the plan and persevering through the obstacles.

Now to continue on for 2020…

 

January thru April’s Completed Goals:

Edit Evade Book #1, Book #2

Craft Book Blurb

Designed YouTube website with book trailers for all 5 books & series

Purchase/design book covers for all three books

Set up Beta-readers of Evade #1

Publish Book #1

Once per quarter do an ad (Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads or Amazon)

Connected with Pubby.com for book reviews

Bought a new table & cart for book signings

Found a new set of book stands

Established a Writing Prompt Series done almost bi-weekly

Completed a week-long course on Amazon Ads & Campaigns

May & June Bi-Monthly goals

Donate older book versions to libraries

Connect with my beta-readers for Evade #2

Continue writing and complete Evade #3

Maintain the Amazon Ad campaign

Research to see if anyone is doing book signings in August

Write Fantasy or Horror Writing Prompt stories every two weeks

Do more exclusive posting on Patreon

Get a writing craft audio book

Design new metal bookmarkers for Evade and The Hidden

Work on a way to expand my Email Subscriber List

 

 

Thanks again to everyone that checks in on me, supports my efforts, and provides a lot of beneficial assistance!!  I truly could not get it all done with out you.

 

 

 

The Hidden EBOOK SALE! — Derek Barton 2020

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Starting today, May 1st I have discounted the price for the Ebook to just ONE DOLLAR! Well, actually, $.99!

GET THIS SPINE-TINGLING, EDGE-OF-YOUR-SEAT THRILLER TODAY!!

Hidden Vid

So remember:

—->> Up through the 4th get this great classic horror story for only $.99

—->> Then after the 5th for only $1.99!!

—->> Back to regular price $2.99 by the 9th!

 

E N J O Y !!!

 

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!!

Writing Prompt #4 — Max the Most -Derek Barton 2020

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Writing Prompt #4

Rain splattered along the roof and porch, washing all the late winter and spring grime away. Geoff Raynes loved it. He was thrilled by the adverse weather. After the last couple weeks he’d had, it was a refreshing change. He hoped the evening shower would last all night. He would crack the window a couple inches on the bedroom window just so he could fall asleep to it. Something the twenty-eight year old hadn’t done since his youth in Georgia.

He stretched out his arms in a big exaggerated yawn then he picked up the remote to lower the television volume. Traffic along the single lane highway approximately forty yards from his front door usually petered out around six at night and rarely had late visitors. At least that had been his experience so far the last two weeks.

The house was new to him and a recent rental.  His latest troubles sparked to life right after his course finals. For the past three years, Geoff was a literature professor downtown in Seattle.  This year’s end results for his students had been abysmal and a third had actually failed. This was unusually high and when he was grilled by the faculty board, his answers were as weak as most of his students. He tried to blame the current course material being too obscure. He promised to find a better selection of texts, but the look in their eyes deemed this a major cop out.

Then Sammi left him, dumping him without much regard for him or his pleas. She wanted to leave the school and return to her hometown in Andrews, North Carolina. He accused her of seeing other people or old lovers, but she said she was too young for the seriousness of their relationship. Sammi claimed he was too possessive. Geoff couldn’t believe she’d be so selfish and cold. Back and forth the argument escalated. The night had ended ugly and alone.

Then of all things his house had been burned down! It was looking like a faulty electrical outlet was to blame.  Luck, however, graced upon him and he soon found the listing for this little abode away from it all, nestled in pine trees and cozy, rolling hills outside the city.

The sound of a chair falling over broke his train of thought. It came from outside on the porch. If the television remained on, he would have missed the sound surely.

He pulled aside the vertical blinds.

A glowing pair of orbs swiveled slowly to stare back at him. Geoff gasped in reaction, then blushed seeing it was a medium-sized dog.  Mutt must’ve come onto his porch to avoid the soaking downpour.

He considered for a moment, then the old dream as a kid having his own dog percolated up in his mind.

“Why not? I can use the company tonight,” he mumbled aloud.

He opened the door and heard the muddy dog softly whine at him through the screen door.

“Bet you could use a bite to eat too.”

The dog carefully poked its head to check out the interior to the living room. It was a young pitbull, mostly black fur except a few splotches of white on its nose and a patch on its chest. A silver pendant hung from its light blue collar. Geoff read its small letters:  “Meet Max the Most” on the back it had a phone number.

“Is someone missing you, pooch?”

It opened its wide jaws and let its long tongue loll out and gave him a friendly grin. It then shook with all its strength to get mud and water from its fur.

“Dammit!” Geoff’s hand came down hard and smacked it along one side of its head.

The dog’s grin disappeared instantly and it only stared at him. The bright yellow eyes were intelligent, probing his face. He felt they were challenging him or maybe judging him. The experience was quite unnerving.

“Well, what do you expect? Look at this!” Geoff snapped. “I don’t like messes!”

He then sighed and took in a few breaths. “Okay, maybe a little of an overreaction there, Max. Sorry. Let’s do a quick bath so we don’t have any more messes okay?” He petted the animal’s head and rubbed the ears vigorously to add to the apology. It softened its glare.

He led it to a small kitchen, leading to a shallow closed in patio. It was similar to a greenhouse with wall-to-wall windows. As he sprayed Max’s muddy legs with a soft spray of a garden hose, clumps of mud and black ash went into a drain in the center of the floor.

“Sheesh, boy. What have you been playing in?”

 

****

The next morning, he found Max the Most laying before the front door. Geoff rushed over in his bare feet, the wood floor considerably cold. “Here! Let’s get you out before you make a pile I don’t want to pick up.”

Max whined and pranced in front of the door. “Looks like the rain is going to be here all day! I’ll work on finding you some–“

As soon as he turned the handle and opened the door a bare two inches, Max forced it wide with a paw and shot out.  Geoff could only watch as the pitbull sprinted back down the wet road, heading into Seattle. It didn’t glance back once.

“Use me, huh? Wham, bam, thank you, ma’am,” he cursed to himself. Max appeared to be the typical male — any port in a storm.

He watched it a bit more with hands curled into fists on his hips. Guess that’s not a childhood dream I’m going to fulfill after all.

He shut the door and went to the kitchen. His laptop still open to a hiking enthusiast web page. Returning to the chair, he poured some milk into a bowl of cereal, trying to not get overly worked up by Max’s sudden departure. He returned to the article he was reading on the top five ranked backpacks for long treks.

Geoff had the summer to himself and considered hiking the Rockies. “Maybe teaching isn’t my real calling?” he wondered aloud. His eyes glanced over at the swollen knuckles of his hand.

He spent the rest of the day researching what he would need for the hike and living in nature. His mind returned often to the strange dog and wondered what would happen to it.

Maybe it was due to being in a new house, but Geoff felt on edge all day. There were eyes on him he was certain. Somehow he was being watched. He didn’t like it and his mood soured at the invasion of his privacy.

 

****

That evening, Geoff woke to a set of soft raps on wood, like thumping sounds.

He must’ve fallen asleep after his meager frozen dinner. Sitting up on the wore-down couch, he scanned the room. Finding nothing, he snatched the remote from the coffee table and snapped the television off. The storm outside had returned but only drizzled with light rain. Lightning flashed several times but was not accompanied with thunder.

The sound of the thumps had been oddly muffled, maybe coming from the back of the house and were out of place among the noises outside.

He walked to his bedroom to get his jacket and put on his shoes. In the center of the room, he froze in his tracks. Swaying on his feet, he stood with his head cocked to the side.

He swore he heard a woman talking. Again the sounds and words were muffled, but they were still audible and feminine.

What the hell, he thought. He tiptoed over to the nightstand and picked up a heavy flashlight. The thick metal handle felt right in his hand and lent him confidence. He liked this tool a lot.

An abrupt clash of thunder caught the small house and shook it as if in anger.

Upon opening the door and stepping through, fat rain drops slid down his neck and between his shoulders. It was miserable outside and threatening to get worse. He half-jogged to the back of the house, shining the flashlight ahead, yet when he turned the corner his feet slid in mud and he fell off the sidewalk. Cursing, panting, and sitting in mud he suddenly heard the sound of a car pulling into the driveway in the front of the house.

Again, he wondered what the hell was going on tonight.

He got to his feet and worked his way carefully back to the porch. There, at the top of the porch steps stood a man, facing his door.

“Can I help you?” Geoff called out.

The man shot a step forward, spun around, obviously startled from Geoff’s sudden appearance.

“Oh, hey, sorry,” he apologized.

The man, white and middle-aged, still wary and embarrassed, asked, “Are you Geoffrey Raynes by chance?”

He joined the man under the cover of the porch as the storm went up another level. The man had thinning blonde hair and fresh stubble on his chin.

“Yes, I am. How may I help you? It’s rather late, you know.”

“My turn to apologize, Mr. Raynes. I’m Detective Cole Jacobs of the Seattle Police Department.”

Geoff grinned but didn’t offer his hand for the officer to shake. He waited patiently for the man to continue.

“Uh, well, yes. I drove out here to ask you a couple questions I had concerning a case I’m working on. Would it be okay to talk inside where we could warm up?”

“No. I’d rather not. I don’t like messes.”

The detective squinted at him after hearing the response and studied Geoff a second. “Okay. Alright.” He paused as he gathered his thoughts, then continued. “You are a literature professor, correct?”

“Yes.”

“You had a student by the name of Samantha Anne Price in one of your courses?”

“Yes.”

“She has been reported missing. Have you seen her recently? Or have you had any contact with her?”

It was Geoff’s turn to examine the detective. “Well… I guess you wouldn’t have come all this way to question me if you didn’t already have some of those answers and know about our former relationship.”

Jacobs remained quiet.

“No, I don’t know where she’s gone. We broke up a couple weeks ago. March 10th, Tuesday night –“

“That was a rather bad night for you, Mr. Raynes. You lost your house that same night.”

“One didn’t have anything to do with the other,” Geoff snapped at him. He wiped at the back of his neck and collected himself. “She told me she was heading home and that she wasn’t interested in having a long distance relationship. I was upset, but I couldn’t talk her out of it. Once she’s made her mind, she’s like a bloodhound on a scent.”

“Was that the last you spoke to her?”

“Yes.”

The detective pulled out a pen and pad from his jacket pocket and noted the information.

“I understand your suspicion and I can see why it appears odd, but there’s nothing going on. I am sure she’s actually in Puerto Rico with her gaggle of girlfriends getting drunk and living it up. Not the first time she’s runaway and vanished. Ask her parents! They’ll tell you.”

Jacobs didn’t write anything down but was staring at Geoff’s muddy pants and shoes. “You like walks in the pouring rain, sir?”

“Actually I thought I heard someone in my backyard when you came–“

Loud barking cut him off.

Max the Most had returned it would seem.

“It was your dog not an intruder,” the detective reasoned.

Geoff sighed in irritation. “Apparently, but it’s not my dog.”

“Is that black ash on your sneakers there?”

Among the clumps of mud, there was a smear of black ash along the top of his shoe and streaks along the white laces.

“Have you been at your former house tonight?”

“No. Besides I think it’s just mud. Hard to tell–“

Again the dog barked incessantly. The barking continued on and on.

The detective tried to ignore it. “So that I’m understanding your story here, you had a fight with Samantha Price, she dumped you and that’s the last you spoke to her. You believe she didn’t vanish but ran off to a beach with some friends?”

“Yes, that’s correct.”

“How odd,” the detective murmured aloud.

“What?”

“Well, that’s the same story Scott Peterson said to the police the day after he had butchered his pregnant wife and threw her–“

“That’s it! This is enough. Get the hell off my porch!”

“Okay. Okay. For now, I’ll leave you, but we’ll be talking soon, Mr. Raynes.”

Jacobs nodded and walked down the steps.

Geoff shook from cold and outrage, watching the officer get into his car.

Another crash of thunder rattled the house at the same moment a dog barked and howled from the back yard.

Goddamn it, Max! Shut up!  He marched again down the steps, his fingers curled into tight fists, heading to the backyard as the detective backed his car out of the driveway.

The barking continued even as he approached the crawlspace under the wooden back porch. Max had dug himself a little cave in the mud.

“You gotta be kidding me,” he groaned. “Come on, dog. Out!”  The dog was due for a lesson about respecting property.

He shined the flashlight and spotlighted the dog’s hind end. It slowly twisted its head and grinned mischievously back at him. It’s snout crusted in black ash.

First thing Geoff spotted was more black ash coating Max’s tail and back paws. The second was the partially buried, ash-covered skull looking back up at him. A pair of long femurs and a partial rib cage poked out from the wet mud.

Another spotlight circled the cache of bones. “Well, hello there, Max the Most.” Detective Jacobs smiled down at Geoff and the pitbull. He stood behind him and already had his pistol in hand.

The detective pointed the flashlight at the dog. “I guess you never knew Sammi had a pitbull. Dog has been missing since March 10th, Tuesday night….”

 

New YouTube Page! — Derek Barton 2020

cropped-logo-2020-v2.jpg

 

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.

 

 

Writing Prompt #2 — Glimpses — Derek Barton 2020

WP 2 Blog

The echoes of a Jackson Ross’ heartbeats overwhelmed all the other noises in the crampt van. The beeps, whines and tones from all the machinery and technology were trumped by the recording of his heartbeat.

Jackson sat in the center of the van in a whirlwind of agents, technicians and scientists. They were prepping him with multiple cameras, recording gadgets and monitor devices. Yet he was dimly aware of their presence and the chaos of the experiment preparations. He didn’t care what they were doing. Their efforts mattered only to them and “their groundbreaking steps for crime solving and justice”.

He, however, was swallowed up by the sounds of his heart beating. It snared his attention and captured his focus as he was getting closer to the answers. Closer than he had ever gotten. His pulse increased as his thoughts raced. His nerves were strained, the pressure to find her was intense.

Am I going to finally get a reason?  Will this be enough to nail the bastard? Can they really resolve her murder? Or maybe find where he hid her?

“Jackson, I’m going to patch…” The voice faded. “Jackson? Jackson, are you okay?”

He slowly raised his head and met her gaze.

“You with us?” Dr. Laura Morrison asked him. She was a tall, white woman with silvery hair. She was also the Project Lead for the Glimpses Endeavor.

“Yes. Sorry. I’m–a bit overwhelmed, that’s all.” He tried to loosen up and rolled his shoulders.

“To be expected,” she nodded. “I’m going to patch you into the main feed then we’ll work on the other extension feeds, okay? Just need you to sit up straight.”

He gave her a thumbs up but stared down at himself. His face a mix of amusement and shock. He had a black, padded shirt with series of electronic sensors along his chest and down his sleeves that ended at the wrists and his mesh-gloved hands. Glowing blue light emitters were attached to his fingertips and small silver plates were sewn into the palms. A visor-like cap crowned his head. More monitor feed lines extended down the back from it and plugged into a battery backpack on his shoulders.

Laura secured sensitive headphones over his ears. She lifted the lapel of her ray lab oat and spoke into a microphone, testing the connection.

“You are nearly set to go.” Her voice piped into his ears.

“I kind of feel like I’m about to walk into space versus an old, rundown house.”

“I bet,” she chuckled. “However, all these sensors and such are going to be critical. Especially if you find damning evidence, the lawyers will need all the facts and reports they can in order to prove this science and use it to convict others like your father.”

He was three on the night of February 26th, 2020. That night seventeen drawn-out years ago she disappeared from his life forever. Leaving him seventeen years of doubt, accusations, false leads, rumor and cycles of foster home rotations.

Since then his mother’s disappearance had become fodder for every network and cable crime series.

Hardest of all for him to accept was the simple fact that Gerald “Jerry” Ross killed his mother, Marissa Ross, and somehow he hid her body and escaped prosecution. It was a pop culture fact. It was a tale of injustice. A story of tragedy everyone knew. He was haunted by her memory and fate.

So when the founders of the Glimpses Endeavor came to him and spelled out what they could do and what they wanted to accomplish, he clutched at it. A last desperate attempt to learn the truth and put her soul to rest.

Jerry Ross currently resided in Oaks General Hospital in a coma. He wasn’t expected to survive the month due to a complicated series of strokes.

Jerry maintained and insisted incessantly he was not a murderer and did not know what had happened to his wife. In the beginning, he would even say on the television interviews how much he loved and missed her. It all rang false and fell flat. Especially when all the hospital records came to light, records of her life of domestic abuse.

With a final tug on three cables by one of her tech assistants and a twist to a nob on the backpack, Laura said, “Okay champ. It’s time.”

The doctor then handed him a digital set of glasses. A pulsing hum came from the hardware on his back as the glassware lit up in front of his eyes. Information streamed along the bottom of the lenses while temperature stats and Electrical Magnetic Field voltage appeared in the corner of the left lens.

“We’re gonna lead you in, but the door has been unlocked and the house scouted. Once inside we’ll view everything you see with these glasses. The programs will feed anything picked up by the spectral or ethereal monitors as well as the ultraviolet thermals.”

He could already see her form in heat radiants of bright orange to deep red. If he blinked twice with the right eye it would switch to ethereal and once again it would switch to spectral colors. “Alright, I’m ready. Seventeen years waiting.”

Five minutes later, the tech intern, turned on the overhead light to the foyer and closed a rickety door behind him without a word.

He breathed in and out, getting his bearings and settling his nerves as best as he could. He went over the plan for the experiment one more time. First, go dark in order to allow the night vision camera feed to register and allow him to navigate in the darkness. Should any entity reside in the house, it would be easier for the system feeds to pick it out. Second, he would slowly explore the first level of the house before going upstairs to the master bedroom.

For eons it was theorized that “walls stored evil” or some places absorbed horrific events. The hope of the Glimpses Endeavor was to use a pulsing Electronic Magnetic Field generator to draw out the captured moments. The modified generator produced and distorted a constant stream of EMF waves and when they returned it would read them like a sonic call bouncing back to a bat.

Through the paranormal feeds and the silver ethereal nodes attached to his palms, it was hoped he would also be able to see and record any entities existing in the spectral fields or ethereal dimensions. The system on his back retrieved all these feeds and readings at once in order to provide a generated “glimpse” and display it in his lenses.

Of course he didn’t understand how any of it worked. He only wanted a view of history.

A glimpse of murder.

He leaned over and switched the foyer light off. In seconds, the room illuminated within his glasses. No true sources of heat were displayed as the house had been empty since Jerry’s hospital stay. Everything was outlined with an eerie blue aura.

Jackson knew the layout of the house which remained as familiar and intimate as touching the features of his own face. The pulsing hum from the backpack increased and snowy wave of green lit particles extended from him like a ripple in a pond.

He walked toward the kitchen, his father’s favorite place. When he entered a soft tone alerted him the Glimpse system picked something up. In seconds a figure stood kneeling by the kitchen stove. The figure was not entirely clear but by the size and posture he guessed it to be Jerry.

Dammit! That’s not clear enough to use in any court as evidence! Is this a waste of time after all? 

After several waves of EMF, the figure grew more defined and detailed as the figure worked around the room. Jackson found he did eventually recognize his father. Clearly younger in appearance as he was in year 2020. The only time Jerry was at peace and ease with himself was when he cooked. Another tone made Jackson leap a little as another two forms came into view in the kitchen doorway. One small form broke off to go to the table and climbed onto a chair.

This is so surreal! As close to time travel we will probably ever get!

“I hope that beer can is just from flavoring the chicken, Jerry.” The voice was rich, smooth, feminine. It had been so long since he heard his mother’s voice that he wasn’t sure if he really knew it.

“Don’t start,” Jerry snapped back. Jackson immediately recognized the cigarette-strained timber of his father’s voice.

She started shouting.”I cannot–“

“Babe! I have good news!” he insisted. “My old pal Kendall is going to be released next week. He’s already got a tip on a job in Memphis. He’s promised to hook me up.”

The figures blurred and winked out.

“What? What happened there, Laura?” Jackson called out, hoping their system wasn’t glitching.

“Not all the glimpses will be complete or thorough.”

He frowned unsatisfied.

Nothing appeared or continued in the kitchen so he went back down the hall to the stairwell to the bedrooms on the second floor.

Halfway up, his mother appeared a foot before his face. “YOU SON-OF-A-BITCH!  YOU PROMISED NO MORE CRIME–” Her wispy figure shot backwards onto the steps behind her. She sprawled, holding a hand to her left cheek and stared in fright at Jackson. It wasn’t him she was seeing but his father who had often “put you in your place” with his hands. Sometimes he had used belts. Jackson winced as he remembered the sting of those leather straps.

The repeated emergency room visits were often the reason that Jerry was so hated and crucified in the press. He was an ugly human being — Jackson couldn’t make him pay for her suffering but at least now he hoped the glimpse would lead him to her remains to put her at rest.

Her figure winked out once again. “Proceeding upstairs to the bedroom,” he muttered.

His stomach tightened and flipped with his anxiety. The bedroom was the murder scene. Every investigation pointed to it. There were traces of blood and a broken shard of tooth found in the initial investigation years ago. Pieces of furniture were marred with scratches and one wall was dented in. Clearly signs of some sort of physical struggle.

Jackson hesitated as he stepped into the doorway. He held his breath. It was now or never he assumed.

Pulses of EMF drew out and across the room.

Nothing.

Several minutes passed.

After all these years, you are going to go to your grave and get away with it, aren’t you, you sick fuck. Jackson gripped the sides of the doorframe, tears slipping down his cheeks. He just wanted to put her in a grave. Was this so much to ask?

“Mummy… Mummy?” A whimper and cry came from behind him.

Two alert beeps rang out in the pitch dark. His mother appeared running toward him at the door while her father’s form chased after her. He was shouting. “I’m sorry. SO SORRY, MARISSA! Please calm–“

His mother’s form bolted through Jackson. The dead cold was bitter and bit down through to the bone. Jackson spun around in time to spot a small toddler climbing the last of the steps just as his mother crashed and flipped over his little form with a shriek.  His mother crumpled into an abnormal position at the base of the stairs.

Everyone popped away again, leaving him alone in the dark.

Laura gasped in his ear. Then she whispered, “Jackson….Jackson! Oh my god, you killed her! Dear lord, she died after all by accident.”

He lowered himself to the threadbare carpet and leaned against the wall in the hall.

It made sense now. His father and mother had a nasty argument and tumble in the bedroom which accounted for the crime scene evidence. Nothing about that night had ever come back to him. The psyches always said he had blocked the trauma after obviously seeing his father murder his mother. But it was her fall he blocked out. His part in her death.

And his father had known he’d face charges and prison time for the assault leading to the accident. The chain of events were enough for a good prosecutor to get manslaughter if not more. Jerry wouldn’t take the chance.

Then where? Where is her body? 

He rubbed hard at his temples then wiped at the back of his neck. Goosebumps prickled his skin still as it was cold in the old house. His breath pluming out in an spooky green fog.

“Oh Jackson, does it so matter?” The voice was clear — rich and smooth. His head shot up to see Marissa standing before him. Her spectral form glowing a soft pale green.

Mom?  The words failed to escape his lips.

“Don’t you see, Jackie? I’m at peace. It’s not important for me to be placed in a patch of ground to be in happiness. What I truly need is for your happiness.”

More tears escaped him and dripped to his chest. Laura’s own faint sobs were captured by the microphone.

“This was never your fault and it wasn’t what your father intended to happened either. It was a tragic accident.  I want you to move on. LIVE! Stop dwelling in the past and on hate for your father. Go be happy and live for me!”

 

Three weeks after the Glimpse Endeavor, Jerry Ross died. In his will, he left instructions where her ashes were hidden. In the end, he remained completely selfish. There was no note of confession or even remorse, only a set of GPS coordinates.

Jerry never did right by his wife, but in the end, he wanted the same thing Jackson’s mother wanted…closure for their son.



Writing Prompt: Whatever building you enter, you can see all of the people who died there.  

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