Fall of a Titan

Derrick Ferguson was a titanic guy in personality as well as stature.

I was informed today of his passing and it was an unexpected and heavy blow.

Derrick and I first became acquainted when I was running a service in the 1990s called Electronic Tales where I would email out a page of story every day that ended on some sort of cliffhanger and picked up the story the next day, only to end on another cliffhanger. He must have recognized a kindred spirit, because he emailed me not just a single page of his own work, but an entire novel called Dillon and the Golden Bell.

I was skeptical at first because I’ve been sent a lot of stories that were agonizingly slow moving or uninteresting. Dillon and the Golden Bell was the antithesis of slow moving and uninteresting. It was fast-paced and thrilling and I felt as though I had stumbled across a buried literary treasure.

In fact, I had stumbled across one of the best writers to every stride the planet Earth. You may chalk this up to hyperbole, but I rank Derrick Ferguson with authors like Homer, Dumas, Robert E. Howard and Edgar Rice Burroughs.

Over the years, I had the pleasure of collaborating with Derrick on a number of projects. My characters would pop up for cameos or even bigger roles in his stories and I would borrow his characters for my stories. One of his characters who I got the most mileage out of (and continue to do so) is Fredrick Whalen, the henchman of one of the villains from Dillon and the Voice of Odin.

Derrick’s iconic hero, Dillon, disposes of Fredrick Whalen by ducking beneath a charge and levering him off the balcony of a high rise building. He is presumed dead but I presumed he barely survived and Whalen shows up in my Denbrook Supernatural novel Devil Take the Hindmost to plague the protagonist. Eventually, though, a defeated Whalen has a change of heart and becomes a different man. Whalen plays a prominent role again when Derrick and I collaborated on The Specialists, which features Dillon and Sly Gantlet and a host of other disreputable types on a suicide mission.

It always brought me great amusement when Derrick would send me a chapter or two of something that he was working on that included the further adventures of characters I invented. It was as though they had a life of their own that continued even when I wasn’t writing about them.

My own writing has been and will forever be informed by the creations of Derrick Ferguson and though I will greatly miss that interplay of ideas, I know that his titanic talent and imagination will continue to spark my own imagination.

My most recent communication with Derrick involved me sending him a manuscript that included mentions of Dillon and Wyatt Hyatt. I also proposed writing a story for the second Odd Jobs compilation which would involve Dillon and the folks at Damage Inc. paying a visit to the sinister Blagdasen Citadel which nearly claimed the life of Dillon’s mentor Eli Creed when they last passed through it. I apologized for not being able to deliver until the end of May because I was in the middle of writing a novel.

His reply:  “If you say you’ll deliver the story by May, I’ll wait for you to deliver the story in May. Simple as that. Dillon and Damage, Inc. going to The Blagdasen Citadel? That’s worth waiting on, son! I anxiously await your epic.”

I don’t know if Dillon: Odd Jobs 2 will ever see print, but I am still going to write that story. Thanks, Derrick, for inspiring and feeding my imagination for the past three decades…and more to come.

Ntashia Stridj Dire

Ntashia Dire 600x793.jpg


Ntashia Stridj first encountered marooned astronaut Garvey Dire when she mistakenly assumed he was pursuing her sister, Lana Shar, to the gates of Ledgrim. When the situation was explained she eventually relented from her intention of killing them and gradually, through a number of dangerous situations, a romance grew.

Her previous husband was slain and from that point, she suffered the stigma of not having adequately protected her husband. This was problematic because her eventual husband, Garvey Dire, was not content to sit in the background and let his wife defend him against the inevitable dangers of Mars.

At 5’6 she is abnormally short for a Martian woman, who average nearly six feet in height. However, this has not hindered her from gaining a reputation as a fearsome fighter, though she may not be as physically imposing as some of her counterparts.

Lana Shar Dire

Lana Shar Dire 600x562.jpg

Stranded astronaut, Garvey Dire, first encountered Lana Shar when he helped free her from a stasis loop he discovered while stranded on Mars and seeking shelter from an impending storm. Hurled back in time with her, Garvey discovers himself in an ancient Mars populated with rival tribes, strange artifact technology, and fearsome creatures beyond his imagination.

Despite this sudden shift in realities, Garvey becomes intrigued with this six-foot-tall warrior woman who introduces him into the Muvari Tribe. To his great chagrin, Garvey Dire discovers that this woman is married to a council member of the tribe–a renowned and wealthy trader. He immediately puts aside his amorous inclinations and this is aided by his introduction to the widowed Ntashia, Lana’s sister.

Later, when Lana’s husband is murdered by a group of conspirators, Lana, following the tradition of first seeking out the brother-in-law to marry her and take on the responsibility of her children, also becomes of the wife of Garvey Dire. Since the ratio of women in the Muvari Tribe is sixteen to every male, polygamy is not only encouraged but required.


The Beaten Mask

The Beaten Mask 600x578.jpg


Yearly at the waning of the seventh moons, the Verm hold a Festival of Masks, which ostensibly celebrates the time when Baldric Erg and seven rebels (making eight—and this is why eight is considered a lucky number amongst the Verm) hammered a copper mask to disguise his features, slipped into the palace of Snersh Khan and slew 73, including Snersh Khan, his seven wives and concubines, and his seventeen children.