New GHOSTORIAN CASE FILES Book!

Ghostorian Case Files: Volume 1
Ghostorian Case Files: Volume 1

Released this week is my latest book, GHOSTORIAN CASE FILES: VOLUME 1. This work has been in the making for a couple years and I’m happy to finally have put this collection together and have it out in time for Halloween 2015. Here’s a quick glimpse of what’s inside:

Crack open the case files of a Ghostorian and venture into the depths of mysterious historic paranormal investigations!

• “The Inscription Of Evil Times” – An ancient stone tablet with a mysterious inscription and paranormal secrets is unearthed in mid-1800s America.
• “Mysteries Of The Church Of Darkness” – Mysterious crawling shadows, graves of unknown cowboys and the plight of a young murdered girl are unearthed at a rural church.
• “Horrors From An Empty Chair” – Long after she died in a lunatic asylum, a letter written by a young woman surfaces revealing a secret birth and family atrocities.

Plus more, including “The Dream Journal” and an new addition to the chronicled Chase Michael DeBarlo mystery for “Friends of the Fedora”! Unlock hidden secrets through exhibits of collected supernatural evidence and carefully researched data, connecting dots that have been centuries in the making.

Just in time for Halloween, the book is available in both paperback and Kindle.

What the Ghostorian Case Files aims to do is to give you a taste of what it would be like to crack open my file cabinet, pull out a folder on any particular case, and start reading through the notes I’ve taken. In order to protect the innocent (and, sometimes, guilty), the cases in these stories are fictional, but they are based on real history and legends from throughout the world.

For instance, the inscription of King Naram Sin of Chaldea is real, the histories behind the Black Bear Church and Blue Belle Saloon locations are true, and Dr. Walter Freeman did commit his terrible acts.

Giving the mixture of truth and fiction and the style in which I’ve written these tales, I’ve been calling the Ghostorian Case Files hybrid paranormal research written works, and it’s fitting enough. One may even call this type of work experimental, and I’ve received a mix of criticism, both good and bad, on the way it’s written.

My dear reader, that just happens to be the style of the work. It’s written as if you are holding open a folder of case notes from one of my investigations and not a book. It may look and feel like a book, but that is not how it reads.

The first three case files in this volume were previously published on Kindle as standalones, and “The Inscription Of Evil Times” also made an appearance in Campfire Tales:Midwest. “The Dream Journal” is new and is something I truly keep because of the number of dreams I’ve really had that have come to pass. Therefore, the Exhibits in “The Dream Journal” are actually true.

This is yet another step down the road with me into the realm of the supernatural. It’s always my hope that my readers glean something from the works I’ve written, whether it’s something that’s plainly on the page or something deeper within. I try to provide for both, things both obscure an in plain sight. Let’s continue the journey together…

Ghostorian Case Files: Volume 1 is available in both paperback and Kindle.

Ancient and Historic Supernatural Secrets

What is lost knowledge? Presumably, that is knowledge that our ancient ancestors once possessed that we have been unable to retain over the years. One could even say that some lost knowledge is that of truth that was purposely hidden and a false truth portrayed to the masses. And then there is that mystical type of lost knowledge that surrounds spirituality, the supernatural, and the paranormal. All of these roads are overgrown and pitted with potholes, but that is where I’m traveling.

I’ve recently announced over social media that I’m producing a new YouTube show through Haunted Road Media titled “Ancient and Historic Supernatural Secrets”. I even held a poll to try and name the show, which turned out to be so even matched that I decided to use both “ancient” and “historic” terms in the title. View the trailer below:


The aim of this show is to interactively research and uncover supernatural secrets and lost knowledge from throughout the ages, covering a wide range of locations and topics, all supernatural, paranormal, and historic in nature. As I dive into archives, old texts, and artifacts I will be presenting my findings through the show on YouTube and will encourage the audience to interact and participate along the way, if one so desires. Together, I hope to uncover answers to questions we’ve all had for centuries, although I do expect to create more questions as I go along as well.

Along with the trailer, I’ve also released a preview video in which i discuss the direction I’m taking this show and the type of topics I’m going to cover:


This show will not supersede the other shows I produce on YouTube such as “Ghosts and Legends”, “Paranormal Roads”, and “Paranormal Vines”. Those have specific themes and formats that I wish to keep — paranormal documentary, road trip video, and paranormal-themed wine, respectively. Ancient and Historic Supernatural Secrets is an entirely different ball of wax, a new adventure that complements my currents ones rather well, and dives into the origins upon which all of the rest springs forth.

There was also a separate announcement I had made of a show that I will be filming with Robbie Thomas. I can’t say much about that yet other than it has been picked up by a production company and I’ll have more information about it once the project gets rolling.

Stay tuned! I will update this space more often as all of these projects begin to take off.

Haunted Road Media Taking Off!

It’s been a while since I posted a blog, but with good reason. Haunted Road Media has been extremely active with three new books to start off the year and the plethora of videos that have been produced. It’s been my pleasure to work with the writing and/or artistic talents of Amelia Cotter, Adam D. Tillery, Cathy E. Gasch, Vanessa Hogle, and all of those that contributed to the anthology last fall. There is more on the way from the Haunted Road Media family, some works from new writers, and even I, of course, am working on a few writing projects.

I was pleasantly surprised to have Dave Spinks involved in the most recent Ghost and Legends episode, which was a spur of the moment investigation with Inspired Ghost Tracking down at the Old Salt Sulphur Spring Resort in West Virginia. It was a great investigation with some interesting activity that was captured, and Haunted Road Media produced a total of three videos out of that, including new Paranormal Vines and Paranormal Roads episodes.



It’s also been my pleasure to interview some of those from the Independent Film industry, including Kyle Mecca who wrote and directed the upcoming paranormal thriller, Dwelling, and actress Erin Marie Hogan who has performed in a number of films, but who interviewed with me about Dwelling and House of Manson, a highly acclaimed Charles Manson biopic. Haunted Road Media supports independent films and we’re lining up more interviews for later this year!

The creative arts is a challenging industry to break into, whether that be writing, film, music, photography, art, or some combination of them all. Haunted Road Media believes — I believe — in empowering people to have their voice and their vision experienced. There are many people out there still looking for that platform from which to be heard and if Haunted Road Media can help then I intend to help.

Ghosts and Legends Meets My Ghost Story

Call this the blog entry that should have been. More than two and a half years ago we filmed for My Ghost Story, covering our haunted experiences at Black Bear church and cemetery in Oklahoma. This came on the heels of our episode on The Haunted, so there was a lot to talk about and I had promised to blog about it. Well, life kind of blew up at the same time and the blog was never written. Now that the Ghosts and Legends episodes are being released under Haunted Road Media, it’s giving me a chance to explore this experience one last time.

The church and cemetery at Black Bear has given us a plethora of paranormal evidence to sift through. Thank you to Logan Corelli for introducing us to the location. We’ve captured some fantastic EVPs, brilliant self-illuminated balls of light on camera, and we’ve had personal paranormal experiences we’ll be telling people about for years to come. The Ghosts and Legends episode below, “Black Bear Church and Cemetery”, is a culmination of those experiences, along with a little history, that has given others a glimpse of what we’ve experienced there. And it gave the producers of My Ghost Story a glimpse of a TV episode they would later title “Church of Darkness”.


Cheesin' in the green room.

Cheesin’ in the green room.

Cathy Nance and I arrived in Los Angeles on April 19, 2012 with shooting for the studio footage to take place the following day. This was a bit different than The Haunted which had filmed all the “studio” footage in a hotel in Oklahoma. Both were just as effective for the presentation, but it was quite a deal to get inside of a studio, be on a sound stage, and even get a bit of a make-up treatment. Wine and refreshments were available — and everyone knows how I love my wine! There were a couple others there from Ohio filming before us, so we hung out and chatted with them for a while in the green room while the crew was in and out.

What was filmed was really just a conversation. I got to sit in the big archaic chair that those who followed the show would easily recognize and answered question after question from one of the associate producers. Looking back at the footage, I wish I would have gotten a little more sleep. I think I look a little bleary-eyed, but I’m told I was fine and my approach to the paranormal activity at Black Bear was professional. Soon, we were headed back to the hotel — but we weren’t done.

B-Roll shooting for the episode took place about two months later. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to secure the Black Bear church location for shooting since the owners stumbled across the Ghosts and Legends episode and didn’t like the mention of possible cult rituals being performed there. Just to clarify, I never suggested that occult acts were performed there while it was an active church. The evidence we found at the site, however, suggested that there was that sort of activity going on within the church structure long after it had been abandoned. For an alternate location we used the 101 Ranch (which is G&L Episode 6), and it worked well for the basement footage. The “Inside Paranormal Shows” vlog below shows how they look rather similar. It didn’t work out as well, however, for the cemetery footage, and My Ghost Story asked to use some stills from the Black Bear Church and Cemetery documentary for the show. Not a problem!


I received a lot of positive feedback when the show aired in October 2012, and I was pleasantly surprised when the concluding statement for our spot directly mentioned the Ghosts and Legends documentary, giving it a nice shout-out. Hopefully, with Ghosts and Legends being moved to Haunted Road Media people will be able to find it just as easily. It was hard to see all those views go away, but such is the way of things. Going back and re-mastering the documentaries with Haunted Road Media has allowed for some much needed cleanup and some occasional inclusion of additional footage, as is the case here.

Moving ball of light in the basement of Black Bear Church.

Moving ball of light in the basement of Black Bear Church.

After filming for the 101 Ranch episode of Ghosts and Legends, we made a little side trip to Black Bear since it was on the way back. For those wondering about the odd middle of the night cows on the road footage from the Haunted Roads of the Paranormal video, this is where it came from. We didn’t spend a lot of time there that night, and it didn’t seem very active at the time, but review of the footage from the basement afterward revealed an anomaly that reinforces the presence of paranormal activity down there. As we came around one of the poles, this ball of light made a bee line for the stairs.

There really isn’t enough I can say about this location and the unusual things that happen there. It has found its way into my other works such as Mysteries of the Church of Darkness and the forthcoming Campfire Tales: Midwest, and it has been a treat to revisit it with the re-release of the Ghosts and Legends documentary by Haunted Road Media. Hopefully, the next such opportunity won’t take me two and a half years to blog about it!

Encounters With The Paranormal

Encounters With The Paranormal

Encounters With The Paranormal

It’s finally here! Haunted Road Media has been live for a couple months now re-releasing my older video blogs and YouTube shows, but it hadn’t been until this past week that the newly founded publisher and video production company released its first print publication, Encounters With the Paranormal: Personal Tales of the Supernatural!

This collection of 19 true ghost tales was a collaborative effort from people of all walks of life, including Amelia Cotter, Rob Gutro, Cathy Gasch, Kathy Chruszcz, Heather Bise, Kyle Mecca, All Willen, Vanessa Hogle, Deb Lerew, Dennis Lewis, Tammy Merritt-Beaghan, Ne’Cole Nohealani Vidro, Nadine Leder, AnnMarie Barrett, Anney Horn, and Ross Lightfoot. I contributed a couple stories as well and provided the foreword, and Adam D. Tillery supplied some fantastic illustrations that were included throughout the book. A whole-hearted thanks to everyone that was involved!

Here’s the blurb: “Almost everyone has a ghost story. Real people. Real stories. Read about haunted houses and vehicles, experiences during paranormal investigations, visits from relatives that have passed on, pets reacting to the paranormal, psychic experiences, and conversations with full-bodied apparitions. ENCOUNTERS WITH THE PARANORMAL reveals personal stories of the supernatural, exploring the realm beyond the veil through the eyes of a colorful cast of contributors.”

It’s true. Almost everyone does have a ghost story, including those that don’t necessarily believe in ghosts. (I explain this in the foreword.) It was fantastic to work with so man people that had all kind of interesting tales to tell and get this work pushed out there in such a short period of time.

In the midst of all the flurry to produce this book before Halloween, my grandmother passed away. She lived a nice, long life and she went peacefully, but the moment also offered quite a bit of perspective. There are greater things in life than just writing and my dreams. My family has been a huge part of that since the moment I was born even though I’ve been away from the significant group of them in Ohio for a long time and my children continue to reside out in Oklahoma. They all mean the world to me.

More specifically, with my grandmother, she was a kind and caring woman, always rubbing my belly and telling me she needed to fatten me up when I was a beanpole adolescent. There are too many fond memories to convey here, but in relation to Encounters With The Paranormal I will offer this: it was at the house she shared with my grandfather in which I really got my start in telling ghost stories. While I had already be writing small mystery books as a kid, it was at her house in which I created a ghostly legend from the memory of Shawnee prophet Tenskwatawa in order to scare my sister, cousin, and the neighbor boy. In the end, we all tried scaring each other with so many of my aunts and uncles, and even my grandmother, getting in on the fun. More on this when Campfire Tales: Midwest comes out.

Encounters With The Paranormal is a wonderful start to a new venture with Haunted Road Media. It has a lot to offer with a variety real down-to-earth experiences from people from all over — shadow people, apparitions, and even the original account of the Haunted Harold Doll that was featured on Ghost Adventures. Some are experienced writers, some are not, but they’re all story tellers of the paranormal in their own right.

New Venture With Haunted Road Media: Does It Matter?

It’s a new venture for me, and it’s a new venture for Haunted Road Media. From the placeholder they have on their site until they officially launch, “Haunted Road Media is a multimedia publishing and production company that specializes in the paranormal, mysterious events, and historic curiosities.” They are reaching out and forming partnerships, and I am really looking forward to being a part of this. For me, it means new revamped releases of all my videos, this first being “Paranormal Roads: Belvoir Winery”.


While Haunted Road Media ramps up to becoming fully operational, they will continue to release edited and remastered versions of “Paranormal Roads” and, eventually, what I consider to be my flagship show, “Ghosts and Legends”. I’m not really sure yet what we may do with my video blogs since I had a considerable number of them with content that people had an interest in like shadow people, cemeteries, and my behind the scenes look at paranormal shows.

Haunted Road Media also produces its own original content like “Haunted Roads of the Paranormal” and is working with others to bring their original content to life. New original content will be forthcoming from me as well as a Haunted Road Media production.


In the midst of all of this, I’ve been prompted with the notion that all of these videos I’ve produced over the years and the books I’ve written don’t really matter. They’re not important. I ask, “Not important to whom?”

Do I believe writing about or making videos about ghosts and mysteries is going to save lives? Not directly, no. Certainly, the writing I’ve done for Lynette’s Law has been far more important on an entirely different topic. However, I’ve also made it a goal to include some talking points and food for thought in my other writing, and I think the families I’ve helped along the way through investigations I’ve been on would argue that my involvement in their lives certainly had some degree of importance.

My ghost books have been more than just a collection of stories about things that go bump in the night. There is a great deal of rich history behind those stories, and I dive far into the history within those books that Louisiana State University included Ghosts of Maryland as part of their Civil War Review. We’re also talking about history that is more than just dates and names. There are deeply personal stories within, accounts that have been lost to time of people who lived and breathed on this earth and experienced great tragedy.

My mystery novels, although much more entertaining in nature, pose some questions of modern morality and social responsibility. The Ghostorian Case Files, a hybrid of mixing real history with fiction has already addressed sex trafficking of young girls on the western frontier in Mysteries of the Church of Darkness. And my upcoming Campfire Tales: Midwest includes a short story called “Feeling the Afterlife” which cascades through a series of human emotions, even after death.

While my writing at this stage may not be earth-shattering to the point where it’s saving this nation from self-destruction, there is still a relevant voice to be heard. This voice can also be heard — and seen — in the videos I’ve produced.

There is definitely a method to my madness, folks. Some are around for the entertainment value and some are around for the nuggets of information within. Some are around for both. Whatever the reason is that you’re still sitting there reading this right now, I appreciate that. I’m going to be here for a while, too.

 

 

Beyond The First 40 Years

About a month and a half before I began the final year of my 30's.

About a month and a half before I began the final year of my 30’s.

It was my 40th birthday this past Monday on July 21. It went by quietly. Not exactly my intention, but it is what it is. On YouTube I posted an hour long video reflection on the first 40 years of my life with a specific focus on the odd decisions I’ve made over that time. The way I’ve done things over the years has been rather unconventional, and while, admittedly, the video kind of drags on, there are plenty of life details about decisions I made that would make you shake your head. So now, I write.

If I were to live as long as most of my grandparents I am not quite half way through this thing called life. I’m trying to get to age 126 so I can see the year 2100, but living into my 90s isn’t unreasonable. Realistically, however, I have about 30 years I can really play around with, so that means I’m more than halfway through my window of opportunity in life to significantly explore this world. I’m going to try to make the best of that window.

About 20 years ago I used to say that I’m not going to die until I’ve accomplished all the things in life that I want to do. They now call that a “bucket list” and there are some that I’ve already been able to check off, even if they didn’t exactly happen the way I originally planned. But they happened. So that means I can accomplish what it is I want to accomplish. That also means, however, I’m going to have to change some things within my life.


For far too long I have remained hyper-focused on the wrong things and have neglected so many things that would make me happier. I’ve even neglected my writing, if you can believe that (for instance, it should never have taken me seven months to write the second Ghostorian Case file when it took me two weeks to write the first), but I’ve never quite operated the way I’ve wanted to. So many times I have felt like I’m ready to burst with all kinds of creative energy only to find myself suppressing all of it for one ridiculous reason or another.  So long ago I used to not do that.

When I was a kid I would just sit and block out the world around me, writing to my heart’s content. Most of my first little stories were done at the dining room table when I was seven years old in Westfield, Massachusetts. The penmanship was rough and I included some simple drawings, but they were fun. A few years later I moved up to my mother’s Smith-Corona typewriter and banged out a few little Choose-Your-Own-Adventures, even cutting the pages to match the size of the real books. In highschool, I used study hall not only for homework but to get lost in a poetic world of song lyrics, with music never composed dancing through my head. Small books were started in a series of one subject notebooks, including a series of journals. Chase Michael DeBarlo was born my senior year of high school, and I knocked out a bunch of mini-mysteries featuring him.

Signing at the Inspired Ghost Tracking meet and greet.

Finding some time for a book signing at an Inspired Ghost Tracking meet and greet in October 2011.

Throughout my adult life, my writing has been relegated to “whenever I can find the time.” Whenever I’m asked when it is I do find the time because of how much I have going on throughout my life, my answer is always, “I don’t sleep much.” And that is true. I don’t sleep a whole lot. It’s kind of a big time waster. I’ve always wondered what it would be like if I could just dedicate my working time during the day to my writing – how much I could get done! And the quality would be so much better by now. I also mean just writing. The marketing of it is a whole other job entirely, and it does wear on me that I feel like I’m spamming the world half the time when I’d prefer my “brand” would just build itself rather than having to do all that I do to build that brand.

I want to branch out and do more with the videos, too. I’ve found that I actually really enjoy video production, even if I fight with the software half the time. I often find myself thinking I should have been in drama club back when I was in school – if I understood what drama club was at the time. (Seriously, I didn’t know that drama club was actually acting and performing in plays, so I jumped on the only opportunities I could like for foreign language festivals or the church youth group occasional skits.) I think it’s come a long way since the first Ghosts and Legends episode, and I’ve been looking into other opportunities like maybe getting into some independent films. Who knows… the world is open.

Finally, there’s traveling. I come from a family of travelers and I have been to all but five of the United States (Alabama, Nebraska, North Dakota, New Mexico, Hawaii). I have thoroughly enjoyed seeing so many wonderful locations around this country, but most of that was when I was much younger even with investigating the paranormal opening a few doors. As far as any world traveling, it just hasn’t happened. I’ve always wanted to see the old world and walk through the history of the ancients. I want to see it with my own eyes, not just in pictures. I want to experience it, and I have yet to do so. Now is the time to remedy that.

Author Interview: Rob Gutro

Author and medium Rob Gutro.

Author and medium Rob Gutro.

Continuing with my author interview series, here is psychic medium Rob Gutro. Rob is a scientist who happens to hear, feel, sense and communicate with Earth-bound ghosts and spirits who have passed on. Rob worked as a radio broadcast meteorologist at the Weather Channel and worked for various other science and related organizations and has almost 20 years of on-air radio broadcasting experience. He’s a member of Inspired Ghost Tracking and helps cross ghosts over. He works for 2 dog rescues and visiting historic houses and sites.

His books include Lessons Learned from Talking to the Dead, Ghosts and Spirits – Insights From a Medium, and the recently released Pets and the Afterlife.

Q. In your own words, who is Rob Gutro?

I’m an average middle-aged guy who happens to be a scientist, dog dad, dog rescue volunteer, an investigator with Inspired Ghost Tracking and a developing medium. Since I was a child I could receive messages from ghosts or spirits (who have crossed over). I wrote Pets and the Afterlife, Ghosts and Spirits, and Lessons Learned from Talking to the Dead to teach others how ghosts and spirits communicate and to give hope about the afterlife. I also provide some scientific explanations about how they do it. I’m not a medium who makes appointments – I’m not as well-developed in my abilities as learned mediums. I consider myself more of a “medium rare.”

Q. When in your life did you start recognizing the abilities that you possess?

When I saw my grandfather materialize in full color before me, 6 months after he died. I was 13 years old. Now that I think about it- he appeared in July, which was the month of his birthday. That makes perfect sense because spirits come back with messages especially around birthdays and anniversaries.

Q. What inspired you to start writing about your experiences as a medium?

I’ve had encounters with Earth bound ghosts and spirits on-and-off until 2005. That’s when my puppy Buzz was killed by a car when his leash opened. Buzz immediately crossed and provided signs that he was with me – ranging from moving things to musical and audible signs to actually seeing him. He inspired me to write my first book and give others hope that pets and people communicate from the other side. My dad passed while I was writing the book and he also provided many amazing signs that even helped me convince my own family dad’s spirit was present during his wake and funeral.

Q. You have a passion for caring for and rescuing dogs which has led to your latest book, ‘Pets and the Afterlife’. Tell us about that.

Pets and the Afterlife

Pets and the Afterlife

My first dog, Buzz taught me what unconditional love means. Sure, we learn it from our parents, but it’s different with a dog or cat. They love you 100% all the time and are never disappointed in you. My partner and I came together with one dog each and since we couldn’t have children we wanted to help return the love to needy dogs who didn’t have homes, so we began fostering dogs (adopted 2 of them), transporting dogs for several rescues and donating time and money to help dogs. Our dogs are our children as they are with many pet owners.

When Buzz passed I was devastated. He provided proof he was still around from the other side. When we lost our dog Sprite in the summer of 2013, he also provided signs that were verified by us, three mediums we we know who don’t even know each other, and friends in Maryland and New Mexico. It’s an awesome story in the Pets and the Afterlife book and serves to give proof and hope to people who lost pets.

Q. How did your personal experiences come to mold and shape your other books, ‘Ghosts and Spirits – Insights from a Medium’ and ‘Lessons Learned from Talking to the Dead’?

As with the Pets book, I wrote all of my books for a couple of reasons: 1) to prove that people and animals who pass are still with us 2) to show people how to look for signs and understand them. 3) To give people hope and comfort knowing that spirits are still with them from time to time, helping and guiding them 4) To understand that physical death is just one part of our lives 5) to understand that our relatives and pets are waiting for us on the other side 6) I use science and science of behavior to provide proof of how ghosts and spirits are able to convey messages.

Q. What’s next on the horizon for Rob Gutro?

RobBowieLifeIt’s a busy year since releasing Pets and the Afterlife on March 27. I’ve connected with many fellow pet parents looking for signs and comfort (and some pets have already given me messages for their parents!). During the rest of the year I’ve got appearances and interviews every other weekend through October. I’ll be speaking at The Frederick Book Festival on June 28th, On August 1 at Inspired Ghost Tracking, Paracon in Pensacola, FL Aug 9-10, a rescue in NY in August followed by appearances at the New England Pet Expo in Boston in Sept., the Capital Pet Expo in Washington, DC in October and several others in between.

I’ve already written my fourth book for next year, but just have to edit it. It’s called Energy, Entities and England: Ghosts in the U.K. In addition, the response from the Pets book has been so great, I’m writing a second volume with stories from others. So, there’s a lot happening and the best part is helping comfort and educate people to know how to recognize signs from their loved ones, while sometimes passing messages on from the other side.

 

Happy 10th Anniversary, Deadly Heirs!

Ten years ago today was a major milestone in my writing career with the official release of my first mystery novel, Deadly Heirs. The fantastic crew that I worked with at the time at Howard County Library in Columbia, Maryland, arranged a nice little release party that morning, decorating the office as private investigator Chase Michael DeBarlo’s office, and a new phase of my life as a published author began. However, it was a long and colorful journey for DeBarlo to make it to those pages.

 

Chase Michael DeBarlo at Howard County Library in 2004.

Imagine, if you will, a seven-year-old boy sitting quietly in a large, cushioned golden rocking chair that dwarfed the child reading the tattered pages of the latest Encyclopedia Brown book that he checked out from his school’s library. After excitedly trying to solve the mysteries and figuring out how Encyclopedia had once again caught Bugs Meany in a lie he runs off to find some paper, a pen, and some crayons to create his own little mystery stories. That was the genesis of my writing career with early influences also including Cam Jansen, the Hardy Boys, and Hitchcock’s Three Detectives. I also wrote some short stories that year in second grade about the American Revolution that impressed the school and I was asked to read some of my work in class. Imagine reading the “Big Boat Mystery” to your classmates when the one you’ve deemed the culprit is one of the kids listening to you read the story (he’s still the culprit in Deadly Heirs, by the way, as a sort of homage to those early shorts)! Mary Beth Markam was my first autograph request.

The Mac clipart I used for DeBarlo back in 1991.

Fast forward to my senior year of high school. I had continued writing a few mystery short stories over the years, a few ghost tales, but my two largest writing outlets at the time were my journal and song lyrics. Sitting in front of a Mac Classic in Computer Business Applications class with Mrs. Lola Franks we were given a basic word processing assignment: type up… something. One page. So, there you go… within a decrepit classroom on the second floor of the old Bowman Building that has since been torn down, Chase Michael DeBarlo was born.

His first case wasn’t glamorous. It wasn’t really even a case. In “The Missing Donut Seed” Chase is caught in a flood while pursuing Knuckles Knucklehead and is desperately trying to find a way to get downtown in the deluge. Short and silly. That was the premise of the Chase Michael DeBarlo short stories that year and for the few shorts I wrote after I graduated. However, the (doughnut) seed of Deadly Heirs was first planted back then, too.

From “The Missing Donut Seed II”:

“It was 8:14 P.M. The night was cold. The night was wet.

I had had a rough day on the job – clues, suspects, paperwork – you know the deal. That’s when she walked in. Miss Stella Moonlight radiated in the doorway…”

Sound familiar? Yes, remnants of my early writing found its way into the finished novel. Also, Stella Moonlight became Stella Boardwick who, instead of radiating in DeBarlo’s doorway, ended up singing at the Flamingo Lounge (which made its first appearance in “A Deep Dark Secret II”, the seventh of these shorts).

A 3D computer model of DeBarlo's Office for the game that was never made.

Enter Tex Murphy. Tex is, in many ways, a similar type of gumshoe private investigator but far more down on his luck and lives in the post-nuclear holocaust future. I played the full-motion video game series in the mid-90s (Tex is finally making a comeback!), loved it, and was inspired to take DeBarlo in a similar direction. Some original artwork was created for a Chase Michael DeBarlo computer game, but it never really went anywhere. In the meantime, I started writing the accompanying novel for the game, and Deadly Heirs was begun.

I took pieces of what I had written in high school and created Chapter 1 in 1997. From there I fleshed out the plot line with an audio recorder that I kept in the car, and Deadly Heirs was being molded during my final few months in the Air Force as I drove to and from work. There’s even a sizable chunk that I recorded with my son, Collin, when he was only four years old. He wanted Chase to investigate a farm with all the animals being suspects!

Off and on over the next several years I wrote on the novel when I could find the time, which was usually during my lunch break at work. I could sometimes find some time at night, but I was usually too tired by then for that type of creativity. I had an hour commute after work, would make dinner when I came home, cleaned up and/or did stuff with the kids — a baseball coach at times — until they went to bed, more cleanup after that… Let’s put it this way: I was grocery shopping at midnight. But when I did get those moments to write I would inspire myself with all kinds of cool detective-like jazz, including some of the old music from Tex Murphy. I still have the playlist on my computer to this day.

Scores of people have asked me over the years where I find the time to do all that I do, and I usually respond with, “I don’t sleep much.” And to those that tell me I should get more sleep, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.” Not much has really changed there. I take on way too much and never have enough time for it all, but there is so much I want to do and accomplish in this life.

At some point along the way I deemed I was nearly complete and started querying agents to represent me. Yes, this breaks the rule that you’re not supposed to start querying for fiction until you have a completed manuscript, but waiting on a response back then took so long since nobody was taking email queries. And was it ever long! I worked queries and follow-ups and sample chapters and various forms of a synopses for a couple years. I was frustrated since everyone who read Deadly Heirs loved it, and I kept getting met with every form of excuse for a rejection that one could imagine. At some point I threw up my hands and elected on choosing a small publisher, figuring it would at least get my foot in the door of the publishing world.

And my beloved Deadly Heirs with Chase Michael DeBarlo and a full cast of colorful characters did just that. Since then I’ve published two ghost books and the sequel to Deadly Heirs, System of the Dead. I also have two more books on the way and I’m really just getting started with my Ghostorian Case Files series.

DeBarlo in The Matrix Online, leader of The Enigma Directive.

Chase has been seen about elsewhere, too, and I’m not talking about the infamous DeBarlo character from The Matrix Online. Chase was featured in a short story “Failed Rescue” that I gave to an anthology titled Studies in Scarlet and in freebie short story on my website named “All Hail Hack Tucker”. Both of these are set in DeBarlo’s world although not told from his point-of-view. I also included him in a number of mini-mysteries that I’ve provided with my newsletter, which had been monthly but is more like whenever I can get to it. These are in first-person like the books and are somewhat similar to my original shorts (but a little less silly). Chase is also going to be featured in a short story in my upcoming Campfire Tales: Midwest from Schiffer Publishing this fall. Even Deadly Heirs is in its Second Edition with extended scenes that weren’t included in the First Edition.

Clearly my super-ego, Chase Michael DeBarlo has been a part of me for most of my life. While he really didn’t get a name until I was 17, he has been there in spirit since I was 7. There was even a while there that my own son, Chase Michael, wanted to be a detective (then he wanted to be a ninja!). DeBarlo is my own and a part of me — a bit skeptical, a bit sarcastic, and sly enough to accomplish what he needs to and solve the case, satisfying some of his own curiosities in the meantime.

I can’t wait to see where we travel together in the future.

(Deadly Heirs is free this week on Kindle for an anniversary promotion while System of the Dead has been marked down to 99 cents.)

Author Interview: Robbie Thomas

Psychic profiler and author, Robbie Thomas.

I’m going to start running some periodic interviews of my fellow authors to introduce followers of my blog to some other great talent that is out there. There’s a lot of fantastic things going on out there aside from my own little writing world. First up is renowned psychic profile and paranormal author, Robbie Thomas. (Maybe I can get my buddy, Rob Gutro, to agree to do the next one).

Robbie Thomas is a Psychic Medium/Spiritual Councillor helping internationally, families and Police fight against crime, while bringing solace to those who need it. Over many years of assisting in numerous murder and missing persons cases, Robbie has been able to give great details to these devastating crimes and event, which have led to finding lost people, arrests being made in murder cases, and bringing closure to families who desperately need it.

Q. In your own words, who is Robbie Thomas?

I’m a loving husband and father of three beautiful girls. I like to think of myself as a kind and caring individual trying his best to lend a bit to this life while listening to what life has to offer from this world of ours. I would consider myself a visionary, friend, and helper, someone who would go that extra mile for someone in need. Sometimes, these qualities might seem good and sometimes a bad, it all depends on the moment, I guess. I’m not perfect, but would like to think I do my best in life.

Q. Tell us about your work with the police and how you and your abilities have been able to help solve crimes.

Over many years of assisting with cases that involve murder or missing persons, the ability itself, has been a key role in helping families and that of police. From either bringing forward a key new piece of evidence in assisting to move a case in the right direction to actually giving a murderers name or place where a body would be, I find spirit moves swiftly and in a precise manner when they want to get the message across. Communicating with the other side greatly depends on those from the other side and how the message is conveyed.

Q. When in your life did you start recognizing the abilities that you possess?

At a very early age things such as shadow people to speaking with guardian angels was something that was just part of life for me. However, it became much more prevalent in my early adolescence and trying to cope with how to control or accept the much more dramatic part of communication of contact was a task. Knowing my peer section would only push me away, I decided to venture this road keeping everything quiet. Later in life, I knew the path I was put on was one of helping others in a manner that was very decisive. I went through to become a police officer on two occasions. One, I was hired and then told the very same day that I was too young as I was only seventeen and passed all the testing. I remember shaking the hand of the police chief and him reading my scores welcoming myself and two others to the force.

Then there was a pause. He then turned to me smiling asking me to come back when I was twenty. Yes, my first hire and fire on the same day! My second police testing was just outside of Toronto, Ontario. I remember coming home sitting in my kitchen speaking with a family member when there was screaming coming from my back yard area. I jumped over the fence in the back only to see a woman screaming, “accident…accident!” I ran in the direction she pointed looking for an accident in the street and anticipating a bad happening. There was nothing! Suddenly, a man yells over to me, “In here!” I look at the gentleman standing at the balcony door to this townhome and him waving me over. I ran over and into a kitchen area, where a woman was running around a kitchen table screaming, a man standing over by a door and he had his hand on the doorknob. He called me over as I looked into his eyes that were wide open. He grabbed me, opened the door and shoved me into this little room. At this point I was looking at the floor looking for blood as just moments ago the lady was screaming, “accident!” The room was very tiny, nothing more than that of six feet by four feet.

A small bathroom and there was a man dead in there with his eyes wide open looking directly at me. All the training in CPR started to come forward as I began right away checking for vitals and was about to administer CPR when I heard, “Let me go!” I stopped for a moment shaking my head and then proceeded to check again for vitals and start CPR. “LET ME GO!” I heard it a second time, very loud this time. His spirit was very loud and clear and that was the point. I opened the door while still looking at him and backed my way out of the bathroom. At that moment, I knew there was something I was going to do, but becoming a police officer wasn’t it. I called someone at the precinct and was put in touch with a captain who immediately came to my home the day after with a film crew. They were making a film on how police, firefighters and EMT’s quit the profession because of duress. Funny thing is though, I wasn’t stressed and you should have seen their faces when I explained exactly what took place and the reasoning for me not wanting to become a police officer. This was the start of my career doing what I do and then it came full circle much more prevalent and me moving much more forward in assisting with cases just after the death of my mother in 1994.

Q. Where does your passion for writing stem from?

I love to write and that of many genres. I guess for me it’s about getting the truth out, either in factual writings in the paranormal, spiritual or that of the horror genre. If I have a story to tell from factual events, I like to at times twist it with a bit of the fictional fantasy type writing. I get lost in the story bringing it from a factual stand point.

Q. After publishing Time Shift: The Paradigm a number of the events you wrote about started coming true. Without giving away too much, tell us about a few of those events and how did that make you feel?

The book, itself, played out like a movie. I couldn’t type fast enough to get all the information across. It flowed very quickly and precisely to a point tunnel vision was my only sight as words in the proper manner were typed out before my eyes. The story cascades an apocalyptic storyline that takes one on a very fast paced thriller ride throughout our world and the events that unfold.

Surprisingly enough, the sense of rushing came over me as though what was being written had to be published as soon as possible for people to see and recognize its importance. The publication date alone had significance, for from the time it was released, many aspects about the entirety of this work started to come true. The cover alone has meaning as again the release date was just days before scientists found the complete Mayan Calendar and in its representation I created from sight what would prove to be the very first coming true of a prediction. The cover itself holds true as it shows our world we live in burning through the Mayan Calendar only to survive and move forward in life. For the longest time, we as a people looked at the Mayan Calendar as a dictation of what would become of our world as the end was near. Not so, for the story continues and the prophecy from the Mayans proved to be wrong and the cover proved to be right.

There are many other significant moments in time from the release date that express many happenings that have come true post publication. From names, places, events and timelines have all come to pass with great significance, which has indeed kept researchers and critics watching. Spirit wanted a message to be told and in doing so, many have read the book while looking twice at what is coming next.

Q. What’s your take on the state of the paranormal on television and in the media?

The state of the paranormal has its moments, I would say. From the onset of so many wanting to discredit others while trying to save face of their own, to people making a mockery of what many really hold sacred. I have a saying, “Too many people trying to walk among the dead when, in fact, they don’t know how to walk among the living!” It’s direct and specific to what is going on within the paranormal community as a whole. The paranormal on television is so saturated with much of the same thing over and over that it becomes a repeat of pete. What use to be a real exciting venture in wanting to know more about the unknown, at times, has turned into a three ringed circus with everyone searching for five minutes of fame, regardless of how they sell their soul.

There are many pioneers from the culture of paranormal, who we all look up to, yet trying to set “new” trends to something most have no idea what they are dealing with, is making a spectacle at times of the field of work in which many hold dear. The media is a conglomerate of build you up only to tear you down syndrome. You’re in at one moment with the right clique of individuals, yet in the same breath you become the cat’s eye target if things don’t go a certain way. I remember back ten years ago and you could count on one hand the amount of so called internet paranormal radio shows/ networks that there were. Now, it too, is so saturated with this type of media. But don’t get me wrong, in the same sense, as it too, serves a good purpose and also that of a too saturated market indeed. It has become a competition/three ringed circus in its own light.

At times, it makes one wonder where all the integrity has gone, where is the focus on the priority of research, proper research in every aspect of paranormal gone. It has become a popularity contest at best, which has at many times given the paranormal community a black eye. I believe we all are here to learn, but learn together without all the nonsense that goes on within the community. I did my first one hour special on television back in 2004 and one individual from the community just happen to catch the show that day calling me up. We discussed the paranormal and how many researchers, real researchers there were back then, and it’s amazing to see from out of the woodwork how many claim to be in the field of work for many years before. This is where the integrity of this field fails, which at times, creates the premise of everything I’ve just discussed here today.

The paranormal is a great journey for most and held in great respect to the many who have ventured into its depths over the many years. This is where the fundamentals of true research/examination should be discovered by those trying to establish anew within this field. I truly have seen many come and go over the decades of working within this myself, which only proves the point that working together for a common goal to achieve the proper, is essential by every means. It’s desired and needed!

Q. What keeps you motivated to do all that you do?

People! I love people and the existence of human kind. I love the fact, I tie together God and the paranormal in every aspect of ability/research/spirituality. From working the front lines with families and police on murder/missing person’s cases, giving the hope and faith to move forward to find the answers to things we need to know to working on research with others in proper paranormal encounters, knowing we are all here, equal in this life and knowing we all have a purpose to exist to move forward to exist again. This is what makes me motivated in many ways.

Q. What’s next on the horizon for Robbie Thomas?

I love the fact of the continuation of living and making things happen in my own personal life. I love the fact of creating new and exciting works of art through the eyes of spirit that is placed in sequential moments on paper from pen. These are the messages from beyond, which gives great encouragement to me personally. Taking from this, working in creating television series to movie scripts from the books I’ve written while staying focused on the purpose of what everything is meant for. We’ve created a paranormal true crime series that is in development at the moment with much interest from many in the market. This will give the opportunity for many to have assistance in cases from murder to the missing, lending the outside the box theme looking for new evidence on such things.

Looking forward to life and what it brings in the future, for the future is what we give to the present and that is how you live life treating it with great respect. This is what I do everyday and will continue to do always.

More about Robbie can be found at… 

http://www.robbiethomas.net/