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Sunday, December 30, 2012

Not so short story

A few weeks back a friend of mine posted that her company was having a writing contest. It was free to enter at that time and if I won, my short fiction could be put into an anthology of theirs to be published in the future. Here is the problem I faced; I do not have any readily available short stories to submit. So, I set myself a goal: write as short story to submit. Okay, meet problem #2: I had three days to write a 10,000 word or less story that was stand alone and good enough to be considered. Needless to say, I did not meet my goal. I sort of knew it was a long shot, but I had never tried that before so I thought it would be fun.

Fear not my avid readers, my writing did not die at that. I began a short story idea for a simple fantasy story and got nearly to 10,000 words and realized I wasn't even halfway done with the idea. I learned about myself in this venture. I learned that I need to read and study short fiction before I try that, my idea was too broad and I spent too much time in character development for a short story. I learned that I can force myself to sit down and write even when I don't believe I am ready. And I learned that I can nearly go nuts trying to complete ludicrous goals and not to set them unwisely.

What I also learned was that my idea wasn't without merit. The story I began was kind of fun and could be written. So, I began to work on it and just go with it to see where it ended. It is simple, not epic fantasy dripping with deep thought and drama. It is a fun little story of adventure that should appeal to a younger audience than I have written to before. I tore into it and rewrote segments so that they would support a larger story. Now, I am ready to work on it.

''What is this story?'', you may have asked. (even if you didn't I am going to tell you anyways.)

A picture of a dragon statue I found online
Markus is a farmers son who is nearing his sixteenth birthday. All children in Gallenor have an option to leave a month before they turn sixteen and find a school to get an education. Few in the valley have taken to this practice in many years, but it is an opportunity for Markus. He already knows a few spells and wants to expand his knowledge of magic at the College of Wizardry. But, he needs something important, he needs a letter of recommendation from a full fledged wizard before he can even approach the school. Knowing this, he goes off to find Tolen the Wise, the only known wizard in the valley. Once he finally locates this Tolen, he discovers the ancient wizard is on the verge of death. Tolen bestows upon Markus something much greater  than a letter, he gives him a powerful wand. He also gives Markus a mission, to find the legendary Dragonwand and return it to the statue of the last dragon at Thendor, the capital of Gallenor. Unfortunately for Markus, it seems that there is much against him completing this mission, for all wizards in Gallenor have been rounded up and imprisoned. Barely a few days into his journey, Markus comes upon a village of Rakki, a dog people who live in the woods around Gallenor. There he meets a girl who is just like him, she too has magical talent. Only, she has lost both her parents to the Royal guards who are taking in all wizards. It has been four years since they were taken from her and she is beginning to lose hope of ever seeing them again. With the appearance of a powerful wand and a young man just like her she begins have hope. Crystal sets out with Markus to help him, in the hopes that his journey will bring about her parents freedom. Together, with the help of her adopted parents, Markus and Crystal must journey to the ominous Dragon Citadel and locate the Dragonwand while evading the Royal scouts, and return the wand to the statue before all is lost.

At least that is what I have so far. Thank you Kim for inspiring me to write this, lets see if I actually complete it.

Monday, December 10, 2012

The best Christmas gift to an Author

I have blogged about this before, but I thought I might say it again. Reviews matter. You may not think it matters, you might even consider it a waste of your time, but it is vital to my industry. When you enjoy something, please say so, let the author/artist know it so that they feel better about what they have done. I have heard some people tell me that it seems like an ego trip for artist to have people fawn over their work. That is simply not the case, it is the knowledge that what we (the artist) do is actually appreciated. You spend, hours, days, weeks, even months and years working on something and then you put it out there and hope dearly that your audience likes what you have done. When that audience stays silent, it starts to seem like you are not doing anything right.

When a singer/actor performs, the audience shows immediate reaction of applause, cheers, or in some cases boos. But, it is instant. They know what they did was enjoyed or not. But, for the author it is a dead silence from the moment it goes into publication until the point that someone decides to tell you that they enjoyed your work. If you enjoy something an author wrote and do not tell them, then they are left to wonder if what they put their life into was actually read and liked.

It isn't much to do to put a review on their work, really just a few moments. You do not need to write an article, or a book report for school, just enough to be sincere about your feelings on the work. Hint: Write it the same way you tell your friend to read the book, since other readers will look at it and decide whether or not to read the book.

That being said, I am able to happily report that people have been telling me what they think, and it has been considerably positive.

Had a wonderful surprise waiting for me this morning. I went onto the Amazon pages for my books and found that I had three new reviews, two for The Crystal Needle, and one for The Crystal Needle: A Christmas to Remember. All three were 5 star reviews. Take a look: Here is one of the three.

Check out the others for The Crystal Needle and for The Crystal Needle: A Christmas to Remember

If you haven't read the books yet, shame on you. Grab a copy of the first book today and have fun. Also, remember that books are gifts that can be opened over and over again, so you can purchase the books either as an ebook or a print book as Christmas gifts for that fantasy fan in the family. And, do not forget to tell those authors you like that you did enjoy their work. Trust me, it is a Christmas gift to them to see a happy reader. Have a Merry Christmas.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Fantasy of Trees 2012

Hello all and Happy Holidays. Each year for the past ten years I have been involved with the Fantasy of Trees event in Knoxville, Tn. The event is a fundraiser for the Children s Hospital. Groups or individuals donate their time and decorations to create a tree that will be auctioned off to the highest bidder. The money helps keep the Children's Hospital operating and that is a very important thing.

Tree topper
The event is quite the time. There are hundreds of trees, all of which are spectacular. The trees are set up in paths with velvet ropes and plenty of mood music and lights to create a festive feeling time. People go just to stroll around the trees and take in a big dose of Christmas spirit. Outside that there are all kinds of other items, booths for toys, face painting, a gingerbread house competitions, a carousel, and Santa pays a visit to let the kids tell him what they want. It starts the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and goes through the following Sunday. If you live in the area or are planning on being around then, take the time to stop by, it is a great time. It is held in the convention center at the worlds fair park. For more details, follow this link

For the past ten years the Embroiderers Guild of America Knoxville chapter has donated a tree. Their trees are some of the most special because each ornament, the topper, and the skirt are all hand stitched by some of the best stitchers in Tennessee. These trees are often valued at over $10,000, though the initial price tag is never quite that high.

Three years ago I was the head of the tree for the EGA and it was a lot of work, but worth it. This year I decided to get my Sigma Alpha Iota Alumnae  chapter involved. They have been wanting to do more with the community, and this is a great start. So, we volunteered a tree. Considering that SAI is a music fraternity, the theme was For the past year we have been gathering music related ornaments and putting a lot of thought into the construction of our first tree. Yesterday, Saturday 11/17/12, we got to put it together finally and see the fruits of our labor. I think it turned out pretty good. Take a look at the pictures and see for yourself.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Christmas is early

  Christmas has arrived, at least in Featherville. Yes, today, November 15th, the follow up Christmas story for The Crystal Needle is out.

It was a fun story to write. I had not tried to write an actual Christmas story before. The story is not intense, there is a lot of good humor in it, and I know you are going to love to see your favorite characters again. What made it interesting to write was the fact that I wrote most of it during the summer. I would sit down, put on Christmas music and write. Each time I would get up from writing I would have to remind myself that it was 90 degrees outside and not December.

I hope that you enjoy the book, it is available on Kindle for only 99 cents, and it is in print for 6.99.



Merry Christmas everyone.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Print Book Cover

The book comes out this Thursday, I am excited. I cannot wait for you to read it. If you are not aware of the fact that another book is coming out.....shame on me for not telling you.

So you know, a novella Christmas story is coming out 11/15/12 that is a follow up story to The Crystal Needle. Check out the cover:

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Signed copy up for grabs.

Okay everyone, tomorrow (Monday, 10/29) one of my books will be up as a prize in the R&M Fab Book Reviews Halloween Spooktacular. It will be a signed print copy. Not sure what the contest will be, but be ready for anything if you want one. I tried to invite everyone I know to it, so you should be able to join. If you are not invited, send me a message and I will invite.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Heritage Days

            Each year in Rogersville, Tennessee, there is a festival celebrating all things East Tennessee, fall, gospel, fun. There is music, crafts, food, art shows, quilt shows, and much more. For the past few years my mother and I have exhibited art in their show. This year our Embroiderers Guild interest group decided to get a booth and demonstrate embroidery for anyone interested in learning. We also advertised the guild to anyone who would like to know more and, hopefully, join. It was a great success. We were placed on the lawn in front of the old Masonic Temple. Beside us was a lady doing wood carving demonstrations, with a chainsaw. In front of us was a woman that spun alpaca wool into yarn, she even brought her own alpacas. They were a delight to watch and fortunately did not produce any odors. Over the two days we were able to teach many children about stitching with a little free pattern that we had set up with a small piece of fabric, thread, and a needle. It was my first attempt at actually teaching embroidery, which I think I did a pretty passable job. If you live in the area, or are going to travel through during this time of the year, I highly suggest making the stop next year. The Heritage Days event is a great way to experience the season.

Now here are some pics of the event so that you can see how much fun we had.

Here are moms contributions to the art show. She won 3rd place.
Here is the original on display.
My stitched contribution to the show.

The art show. 
Here is the original for Bark. I also included a bit of the story.

The booth. 
Our friends, a male and female alpaca.

Sarah teaching embroidery to a very attentive learner.
Jean took the opportunity to work on her piece. 

The festival, at least part of it. 

Last day!!!

Today is it. If you haven't gotten your copy of The Crystal Needle, then you need to get it now. It will return to its normal 2.99 price tomorrow, but it is only 99 cents today. Download and enjoy. Remember to give it a like and check the tags while you are at it.

Under a curse for 300 years, 19 year old Yuki, a magical 
Kitsune from Japan, has not lost her taste for retribution. However, her desire to destroy the witch that killed her father has come into direct conflict with something unexpected—the love of a young human. With the return of her archenemy at hand and the world in peril, Yuki must choose between satisfying her vengeance and saving what she has come to love.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

5 of 5 stars

Had a long day out today. Started early in the morning with a trip to Dollywood, then over to Knoxville to see a movie and then head off to a meeting with the EGA. It was fun, but boy am I bushed. So, it was a really nice thing to see another 5 star review of my book on Amazon when I turned on the computer.

Check it out:

5.0 out of 5 stars The Crystal Needle by Daniel PeytonOctober 9, 2012
Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Crystal Needle (Kindle Edition)
Daniel Peyton is a new author to me and I wanted to see what his books were like, while asking him questions on FB he informed me that I could get the book at Amazon for .99 so I scrambled to the site and bought the book not knowing what to expect.
I am so very glad that I did.
He made the story grab my attention from the very first page and kept me guessing as to what was going to happen next. I love that he could spin the story in so many directions and surprise you with the way it all flowed.
Joe, Allison, Elsabeth were so interesting to me that I felt like I would love to meet them in real life.
I gave this book 5 stars because of the style and suspense he wrote in.
To all book lover: You really should go check his books out and see for yourself what I am talking about. I loved it so much that I am telling everyone I know to read this story
Thank you Daniel Peyton you are awesome!!!!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Just some art

 It has been a while since I posted some art in here. As you have read, often I draw to see my characters better. Sometimes I draw for the fun of it. A funny pose, or something unique that I like, when I need something to do and I am in a drawing mood I will spend my down time with my pencil and paper. So, enjoy the fruits of my boredom.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Just 0.99 cents

Yes, you hears it right. For the next month, 9/15-10/15, my book The Crystal Needle, is only 0.99 cents to download on Kindle. If you haven't read it yet now is your chance to pick it up and read it. 

Coming this November: The Crystal Needle: A Christmas To Remember. (More details to come.)

300 years ago, in the dark shadow of the Salem witch trials, two kind stitching witches founded the city of Featherville as a haven for the unfortunate victims of the witch hunts. Soon after Featherville’s founding a father and his three children arrive seeking a safe home. They are not human, but Kitsune, a magical fox people from Japan. Their story, and the loss of their mother to hunters, tugs at the hearts of the sisters. Elsabethe comforts them, but Adel becomes angry. She uses her magic to avenge the Kitsune against the humans who had hurt them. After tasting vengeance, she begins to desire dominion over man. In her lust for power she destroys the father of the Kitsune and curses his children. Adel is ultimately magically imprisoned by her sister in the forest nearby so that she can do no more harm. But, the seal is not eternal.
300 years later fate begins to move. A family takes up residence in Adels old home and finds a friend in the little old lady living next door, Elsabethe. This family has one son, a 19 year old boy who happens to enjoy embroidery. Joseph is flirtatious, kind, and pretty good on his feet. He becomes close to Allison, the cursed Kitsune girl. Unaware of her true identity, he comes face to face with the reality when Adel makes a terrible and triumphant return. Together, they must find a way to defeat her, saving Featherville and the whole world from the wrath of the 
Obsidian needle.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Darkness and the Light

It was early in the school day for me. Class had only begun a short while ago and the room was quieting down for the teacher. Being in Oklahoma we were used to thunderstorms with loud booming sounds. But today it was blue clear skies and spring was all around. So, it came as quite a shock when the whole school was rattled by a thunder like echo in the distance. We weren't terrified, as I said thunder is a fact of life for us. Curious is more like it. Moments later one of the teachers came running into the room and said, "There was a bomb set off in Oklahoma city." Now we were scared. We were used to the death and devastation of tornadoes, but a bomb!? My home town is an hour north of OKC and yet we felt that blast. Worst of all we felt the impact it had on the lives of everyone in the country. We were only in fifth grade and our world was shaken. My father was supposed to teach a class of Marines at a Vo-Tech days after the incident. Those Marines and their commanding officer were all at the Murrah building during the explosion. The commanding officer was the only one to survive.

Fast forward six years. We have moved to East Tennessee. The memories of April 19th are faded but never gone. Settled back into the comfort of protection we feel as Americans, life has gone on. I get up on September eleventh as I do every day and look for my brother and mother to start making breakfast. Then my father calls. We don't often have the television on during this time of the morning, but he was telling us to turn on the news right now. Mom is frantic, I am getting scared. She turns on the television and there it is. A sight that has been burned into my mind and heart like nothing else. One plane has plowed into the Trade Towers, smoke rising up into the sky. A cold sweat spreads across my body and I am unable to process what is happening. I can only think that it was a terrible accident, a pilot committed a serious error. The idea of terrorism hasn't even crossed my mind yet. Then it happened. The news was live back then, no delay, just reality. That second plane plows directly into the building and my heart sinks to the floor. Oh my God. I cannot imagine why anyone would do such a thing. Then the pentagon is hit. Then another plane is crashed into a field for God only knows what reason. Mom and my brother go to make breakfast, she does not want to watch anymore, my brother feels the same. I cannot tear myself away from it. Mesmerized by the spectacle of this, I am breathless as I watch both towering giants plummet to the ground. The cloud of dust and debris exploding outward across the city. Citizens running and crying in pure terror. The camera operators doing all they can to document what is happening without becoming victims themselves.

I have seen death. I have seen destruction. I grew up with it. Living in a natural war zone tempers the soul against the harshness of life. At a young age you have already come to understand dark things when death falls from the sky. NOTHING prepares you for this. Nothing.

Life continues. The enemy did not succeed in its ultimate goal of completely crippling this country. But the scar will remain in our souls so long as we live. That scar reminds us of the despicable tragedy and the images that came from it. But it also reminds us that we cannot live in hatred, anger, or sorrow. The enemy wants that hatred, wants that anger, loves our sorrow. We must look forward, and love one another for tomorrow could be the last day you see your best friend. Don't seek retribution, seek forgiveness and to forgive. Don't count others sins, count your blessings. And always know that no matter how many evil, wicked, terrible people are in this world, there are more that are honorable, respectable, and good. America was touched by evil that day, but it was also touched by the kindness and honor of our allies who came to our aid and offered help in any way they could.

Many souls were lost that day and many people affected. Mourn them, pray for them, help them. But, do not, under any circumstances, only see the darkness and forget the light.  

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Art Study

It has been a while since I did one of these and thought it might be fun. I love to draw, that should be apparent right now. I do not classify myself as pro, or even semi-pro. I just enjoy the process and hope the final product is enjoyable. I have said before that why I draw is to see my characters. Years ago, when I was younger and wrote for school, I often wrote about fantasy people. I did not draw them and only had to use my words to describe them. Over time I wanted people to see what I was thinking and believed that my words were insufficient. I couldn't even see the characters that well, the details would shift around in my imagination. Was his fur color solid or spotted? Did she have longer hair, a mane, or a tuft of fur on her tail? So, my mother encouraged me to draw one and see where it led me. I drew my first animal human hybrid and was encouraged by the image. I now knew exactly what he looked like. Of course my earliest drawings were hardly comparable to what I can do now, but that is a symptom of practice.

I like to say "I have never had any training" because it sounds cool. "Yeah, I'm this good by natural talent alone" (even I don't buy that.). Okay, so ego aside, this isn't entirely true. No, I haven't actually been in a classroom and studied under a teacher/professor/artist to refine my ability. But that isn't to say that I haven't had instruction. When I was young I fell in love with Michelangelo's work. I got a book that showed his sketches and realized that even he, a great master of art, spent time drawing rough images before refining it to a final product. I studied his styles and tried to simulate them as best as I could. Then I found art books and read them, studied them, and put some of their teachings to practice. And practice I did. I have drawn and drawn and drawn. I have studied the human form from a thousand angles, with/without clothing (stop snickering), different lighting, and different body types. I prefer to start with a nude form (I said stop snickering.) it helps to draw the base of the body and then simply add to it. Though, searching for the nude form (Okay, now I am going to call your mother!) without proper qualifiers in the search can produce some rather nasty results.

"How does this enhance the characters?" you might ask, (and even if you didn't I am going to answer). When I finish a drawing of a person, I know them better. I start to see things in their drawing that tell more of their story. One character was a feline man with dark spots all over his body. The spots gave me the idea to nick name him cowboy in the story (his fur looks like cowhide). Then I noticed that the model I used had stronger thighs and hips than most men in his body type. It gave me the idea that this cat likes to swim. After that idea came to me I started to consider the notion that swimming is not a common sport among his kind and that sets him apart in a way. Thus more story could be formed with the interaction between characters about this. So, you see how this helps me? If you don't, well, enjoy the art anyway.

For this little study I chose a picture from a modeling site online. I have no idea who the model is or what he was modeling for originally. But the image was a good balanced easy picture to draw and that would make for a good study.

The pictures were all taken with my phone camera. It was easier to keep it in hand rather than continually scanning. Besides, as you will see with the final addition, the scanner is an imprecise art when pencil drawings are concerned.

Lets begin:
How do you get from this:             -              -                  -             -                        to this

2. I start shading in a corner of the body
1. First you have the rough sketch


3. I move across to the second corner

4. Start to add definition to the arms and shorts


5. Define the pants and legs more. 
6. Now starts the character enhancements
with the face.

7. Add ears and start the chest mane.

8. Fill in the mane and shade in the face.

9. Add definition to the mane, face,
and work in the details. 

10. Add tail and whiskers, and there he is. 

This is what he looks like scanned in. 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Fall Pumpkin Square

Fall is around the corner. For me that means the end of summer, but it also means colorful leaves, cider, holidays, and pumpkins. Yes, my house isn't decorated with scary stuff for Halloween, or with little pilgrims all over the place, it is covered in pumpkins of all sorts. Glass, fabric, real, and many others have been gathered over the years to make my home feel a little like a pumpkin patch for nearly three months out of the year.

As you all should know by now one of the prominent themes of The Crystal Needle is embroidery. And what better time of year to stitch than fall? So, I present to you, the Fall Pumpkin Square. This little pattern was designed by my mother for a project with the EGA, Embroiderers Guild of America. Since it is her design, she has graciously offered it up for free for you to enjoy. It isn't hard and it shouldn't take too long to stitch, so get those needles out and craft a pumpkin for your own home this year.

Keep in mind that instructions for stitching are more like suggestions. If you want to duplicate what you see, then follow closely, but if you want to change it go right ahead. Have fun with it. If you do stitch it, please get me a photo of the final product and I will post it on this blog and on my Facebook fanpage. This piece would be perfect as a pillow, ornament, or in a small wooden frame for seasonal decor. Stitch in peace.

Here it is.
Stitched by Bonita Peyton 
If you need a larger pattern to print off, please follow this link  

·        28ct Lugana 10”X10” ( I used Summer Khaki, but you can use any 14 or 28 ct. fabric you like)
·        8in. Q-Snap ( or whatever you want to use)
·        1 skein Sherwood Forest Wild Flowers
·        1 skein Turmeric Wild Flowers
·        Beads of your choice ( I used DB-601 Delicas)
·        Beading Needle
·        Size 24 Needle
Design Area: 88 threads square
·        Border rows are worked over 4 threads
·        Pumpkin rows are worked over 2 threads
·        Pumpkin stem is worked over 4 threads
·        Each square on graph is one thread
·        Smyrna Cross – Sherwood Forest
·        Alternating Cross Stitch/Upright Cross – Turmeric
·        Pumpkin – alternate rows of cross stitch in the two wild flowers colors. If you want to use beads, pick your rows and sew on as you cross stitch.

Work the borders first as it will be easier to place the pumpkin. Inner square measures 56 threads square. The pumpkin measures 28H x 30W. Go over 15 threads from the right inside edge of the border and 20 threads up from the bottom inside edge of the border. This will place you at the bottom left edge of the starting stitch. 

Thursday, August 23, 2012


Had fun making a puzzle out of one of my pics. Good luck with this one, it is a bit of an eye strain. I will try and make a better one tomorrow.

Heres the link:

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Author Interview

Met a nice person on Facebook who interviews authors for a Forum called Inspiration Forum. I hope you learn a little about myself and my work. Enjoy.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Short Story: Bark bio

Now that I have introduced you to the characters of Clash: Rise of Heroes and some of the back story of the game, it is time to finish telling you about Bark. Of course, as an author, my bio for him is a little longer than the others created by the game designers. Also, what I am going to show you is only the first short story. There are several others that I will post in the future that are more detailed. I hope you enjoy. So, here it goes.

 (Note: If you haven't read up on the Clash stuff in my previous posts, please do.)
Introducing Bark:

Joshua Henderson was born in Tulsa Oklahoma and raised a good cowboy with a heart of gold. Not the academic type, Josh eventually wound up training as a private security guard and self-defense specialist. After graduating a full course in self-defense, marksmanship, and basic security procedures, Josh left Oklahoma for Las Vegas where he was hired on by a private security firm that handled private security matters. Josh was good at his job and often rewarded for his skill and devotion. He even won three citizenship awards for his work at the volunteer fire department. His life was turning out to be everything he hoped it would be.

Enter Dr. Jason Osten: Dr. Osten was a thoroughly brilliant geneticist. After spending two years teaching college, he got tired of trying to pound basic science into the foolish heads of kids unwilling to actually use their brain. Eventually Dr. Osten left his position at the university to advance his monetary situation through some military funding so he began experiments on his own. After a lot of experimentation, he discovered methods to cross human and animal DNA. He approached the government about funding to help create a breed of super soldier that would be a cross between human and canine.  After seeing what he had already done, the Government not only turned him down, they charged him with endangering human life and animal cruelty. He fled before they could bring him in. Angry and ready for revenge, Dr. Osten set out to create his own army of mutated people and destroy the very government that had scorned his intelligence.
Dr. Osten found his funding in a secret organization that worked for a Government that too wanted to hurt the USA. With money and time, Dr. Osten was able to create a mutated dog species that would be a ruthless warrior. Unfortunately, he could not train the beast and it was obvious that it could never be used for military purposes. So, he decided to continue his original research and bring human DNA into the mix. He needed the mind of a human to mix into the genetics so that it would follow commands and learn. But not just any human would do. No, he would need a specimen that was a top of the line human.
One night the company that Josh was working for got a call. A man wanted the absolute best guard to work for him at his laboratory for a single night. He offered enough money to hire out the whole regiment so the company didn’t ask too many questions. Of course their first choice was their star player, Joshua Henderson.
Josh arrived at the lab in the dark of night, curious as to what was so important that they would need to hire a guard just for one night. Surely if this was a government project they would simply call in the military. But a paycheck is a paycheck. Josh found a nice scientist who was thrilled to see him. He stationed Josh just outside the lab where this highly secretive experiment was going down.
About two hours into the night Josh heard a strange noise and the scientist called him to come in and help with something. Josh went in without question. What happened next was a blur. Josh heard a strange ‘phoot’ sound and something pinched his neck, the room spun and he fell down. The next thing he knew he was being placed onto a cold metal surface. The world went dark as he fell to the tranquilizer.
Dr. Osten brought in his dog and took samples from it for the process. He took perverse pleasure in listening to the creature yelp when he stuck the rather long needle into its neck. After mixing the sample with a special solution he injected Josh. While the serum started to infiltrate Josh’s body, the doctor turned on a device that bombarded the man with a unique radiation that was designed to cause the process to excel at a massive rate.
The sound of the machine and the writhing of the man on the table scared the dog beast and caused it to thrash about furiously in its containment unit. The cage was no match for the mutant dogs strength and fear. The dog broke free and tore through the lab with rage and ferocity. The first target was the doctor, who was killed when the dog-beast split his skull with its mouth. Then the beast wrecked the lab trying to find a way out. When the beast had finally broken through part of the wall it ran free, leaving a dormant lab behind.

Two hours later: Josh woke on the table. He was nauseated, had a splitting headache, couldn’t see much and had a strange feeling all over his skin. All the lights were off; in fact there was no power anywhere. Following the moonlight through the hole in the wall, he too left the lab for the outside world.
Disoriented and sick, Josh stumbled through the desert, searching for help from anyone he could find. At this time of night not too many people were out and about. To his relief he saw the flashing blue lights of a police car sitting on the side of the road. The officer had just finished giving a person a citation and was preparing to be on his way.
Josh approached with hope that the man would see his condition and help. The officer looked at Josh and yelled. With a shaking hand the cop pulled out his gun and pointed it at Josh. Even through his dazed, hazy condition, Josh knew a gun when he saw it, so he ran. The officer did not pursue.
The security agency reported their missing man and the local police searched the laboratory. Authorities found the wrecked lab and the dead doctor and assumed the worst.

All over the area, dogs, cats, and even a child were found dead after an apparent dog attack. Some kind of unidentified breed of dog was brutishly attacking anything and everything, then leaving so fast that no one could catch it.
Josh, having found a cave in the nearby canyon, was still sick and unable to process what was happening to him. His arms and legs were growing fur, his muscles were bigger than ever, and he was certain he felt a tail growing out his lower back. He almost passed out when he found where his ears had gone. This had to be a dream. What on earth was wrong with him? The only source of water he could find was a small river and it was too dirty to see his own reflection. His memory was so fuzzy that he couldn’t remember his own name, let alone how to get home. He was mutating, lost, and hungry.               

One sunny afternoon, a small child was playing on her swing set. This was her daily activity while she waited for her daddy to come home from work. Today, though, she heard a new sound. There was a strange rumbling behind her. Dismounting the swing she looked back to see a large, beastly dog approaching. ‘’Oh, a doggy ’’ was her first response, then she noticed the teeth. He wasn’t looking for a playmate, he was looking for dinner. She shrieked just as it lunged at her. At the same time, another dog-like thing hit this dog in the side and sent it sprawling across the ground. A man, or a dog/man really, was standing in front of her, with barely enough clothing on to be decent. He growled at the dog that was returning to eat him. The second lunge came and the man punched the dog right in the skull, breaking its neck and killing it. Josh stood there for a moment, surprised at the super human strength he had just felt.
Once the danger had passed, Josh looked at the terrified little girl to say ‘’Are you okay?’’ but all that came out was a ‘bark!‘. The child shrieked again and ran for home. Just then her mother came out and screamed as well. Josh tried to say that he was just looking for some food when he saw the danger and decided to help, but again it was just a ’Bark’. The woman picked up an empty flower pot and threw it at Josh. He ran away, hiding behind another home.  
The news reported two sightings of a dog beast that was roaming free and killing other dogs. Due to the panic and growing hysteria, people began to assume that the dog thing that had killed their dog or cat, was this monster that attacked the poor little girl. The police set out a net to find him, but Josh was fast and clever, evading them at all turns. He desperately tried to find home, but nothing looked familiar. He resorted to eating from trashcans and doing his best to not be seen by anyone. 
With the mass hysteria out of control, people started to report all kinds of ridiculous things. The dog man wrecked their car, the dog man dug a hole in their yard and buried a bone, the dog man is an alien who abducted a woman and is the father of her baby. All these reports were false of course, but it only made his infamy grow. Josh was tired from evading authorities. He ran back to the cave where he first took refuge. If he were to die, he wanted to die alone.
By now the police were swamped with scared people and the Governor was calling daily. As a last resort the United League of Heroes was contacted and they sent a team of student Heroes to assist the police. They were briefed on all the reports and information available and told that if found, most likely they would have to kill on sight.
The search continued and the ULH spread far beyond the little suburb to search the surrounding areas.

It was Frost who found Josh. She was following the little river, with the idea that this man would likely need water, and came upon a cave. She was ready to assume she had come across yet another vagrant taking refuge in the cave until she saw the tall ears and the furry body. This was the ‘thing’ they had been searching for. He was sitting on the floor with his back to the rock wall, his knees up and his arms resting across them.
Frost held up a hand and prepared to freeze the life out of him. But this was not a surprise attack as was her intention, the man turned his head and looked at her. She lowered her hand a bit when she looked into his eyes. This man was not threatening her, he was scared, sad, and maybe even crying.
‘’Who are you?’’ Frost asked, not letting her guard down. 
‘Bark!’ was all that Josh could say.
She smiled, ‘’Bark…is that your name?’’
He shook his head, but again said, ‘bark’
Frost walked into the cave and came close to him. ‘’Hey, you’re kind of cute. I can’t believe that you are as dangerous as they say.’’
Josh looked down and let out a sorrowful sigh.
Frost lowered her hand and came down to one knee to look him in the eye. ‘’Who are you?’’
Josh realized that he could not communicate with her. He closed his eyes and shook his head. All he wanted to say was, ‘’Please, just kill me and get it over with.’’
Frost smiled and took his hand. Turning it over, she looked at his palm, seeing the rough furless skin. Looking into his eyes she said, “ I don’t see blood on your hands. Come on, why don’t we find out the whole story.’’
Josh didn’t argue. She was the first person in weeks who had not screamed at the sight of him, perhaps she could help him.

The ULH reported the capture, but did not tell the people that they had taken the man-dog-thing back to their headquarters. It was assumed that he was killed so everyone wrote him off as dead and that was fine by the ULH.
Josh was happy to have food and people who were not terrified of him. He was especially happy when they brought in Tobias Glyph to communicate telepathically with him. Tobias not only learned that this man was not the danger as was reported, but he was also able to help restore parts of Joshua’s memory.
 The General put Josh through some exercises and found his physical condition to be better than humanly possible. Cerberus, or Dr. Tobias Glyph, did an intense study of his mind and found that it was mostly human, the primal dog side was buried and very minor. He cleared Josh of being a threat to anyone. After all of the tests, Josh was asked to stay and study at the ULH. With the advice and support of his newest friend, Frost, Josh accepted.
Frost gave him his hero name, calling him Bark. She was the one who brought him home, so it was her right. Of course they knew his name was Joshua Henderson, but he was fine with the nickname Bark.