Excerpt from “Side Project” — Derek Barton – 2019

BATTLE 1

 

For a couple weeks now, I have been working with my colleague,  Adam Mitchell, on a fantasy story side project.  This is geared toward a younger reader than most of you, my typical fans, but it’s been a lot of fun and sparked some fond nostalgia.

Do you remember these back in the early 80s?

There’s a growing niche market for a revival or new version of these beloved child/young adult stories.

Writer James Schannep, for instance, is like a few other writers who have already had success with his own modern tales in his series, Click Your Poison.

Our series, Drive Your Destiny (working title), the introductory book will contain three separate stories (a bonus story if you complete certain missions correctly) with some common links to each other. It takes place in the world called Aturnor mainly controlled by man and elves. Few in the world has little lore of magic. In fact, only scattered magical artifacts and treasures have been left behind by a race known as the Daenovians. 

To add a twist to our series, we have fashioned three heroes with unique skills that you use to survive and surpass tests within the adventures.

Here is a small sample of what we’ve been working on from the first story, Shrine of the Shadow’s Tooth:

ROOM 31#

As you reach the top of the stairway, you come across a massive granite door broken in two by a massive crack which blocks your path. 

Squeezing through the crack, you find on the other side a troll that is feeding on the remains of a goblin corpse. Next to the troll are several stacks of cages which hold skeletal remains of various animals. Amongst the cages and debris of remains sits a chest covered in flayed, decaying flesh and half-chewed organs. Next to it is what looks like the only other way out of this chamber of the Shadow’s Tooth.

As you listen and watch in disgust the Troll’s eating habits, you notice a cage suspended from the ceiling. Inside, a young woman is trapped and terrified. You suspect that she’s more than likely the troll’s upcoming meal. Behind where the troll is eating, you see a wooden winch mechanism which lowers the cage.

You open the troll’s chest. Turn to — 79

You decide to rescue the women in the troll cage. Turn to — 65

Or…

 

ROOM 41#

After some time, you find yourself in an odd-looking, but ornate chamber. In front of you looms a 30-foot-tall demonic idol which dominates this room of ebony stone. The statue is made of contrasting red quartz. Its grinning face appears to have two large rubies in place of eyes. A fire burns wildly in a wide brazier built into the chest of the demon. This is the source of the strong smell of sulphur in the area.

At the base of the idol are three chests made from the same black stone. Skulls are set into each chest, their eyes compelling you forward.

You choose to investigate the idol. Turn to — 8

You decide to check the chests and carry on past the idol. Turn to — 30

 

What are your thoughts and first impressions on this idea?  Is this something you’d buy for your child/teenager? What was your favorite adventure from the Choose Your Adventure series?

Please feel free to share and comment.

Writer Interview by Andrew D. Michaels — Derek Barton – 2019

Int.jpg

 

My friend and colleague, Andrew D. Michaels, has a running set up to interview writers for his Facebook page.  You guessed it — I am next up on his rotation!

Enjoy!!

Today on the chatbox, we have our own Derek Barton! He’s here talking about his upcoming multiverse and check out his website below for free excerpts and shenanigans!

DB: I am a self-published writer since 2016. My favorite genres that I write in are the same that I love to read: Horror & Fantasy. I tend to blend my work with elements of horror in all that I create. In other words, my epic fantasy has some rather dark elements. I guess you’d say that I am primarily a horror writer.

ADM: That’s awesome! Would you say that not only the horror genre has severely influenced your writing, but any authors in particular?

DB: Like most writers of my generation, I can point to Stephen King’s influence and I do so proudly! He’s a master at creating characters that are so meaningful and powerful that you never forget them. That is one of the key goals I have in my stories. On the other side, fantasy writer Piers Anthony influenced me at first then R. A. Salvatore (of the D&D Forgotten Realms literature). Also, Dean Koontz, J RR Tolkien, and Stephen R Donaldson inspired me. Even to this day, I get inspired by them. Stephen King’s Mr. Mercedes got me so excited by crime horror that I wrote my Elude series because of the unique way he twisted real-life with horror factors.

ADM: I can relate to those! So, what was the catalyst in the transition from reader to writer?

DB: I had given up striving/dreaming of being a writer since I was never able to write a full story out. Had tons of half-finished work. Then I learned during the writing of Consequences Within Chaos (my first book) that I was a ‘’plotter’’! So, what that means is that I had to have every detail planned out and couldn’t sit at the computer and just write by the seat of my pants (what’s called a ‘’pantser’’). After learning how to better develop and structure my work, it was easy to see the dream come true and be an actual writer. My good friend, Doug Sanburn, from high school, had belief in me and he was an accomplished, published writer, so I took the leap of faith. And never looked back! In my opinion, this is the greatest time in the ages of man to be a writer. There’s so much reference material and writing craft detailed out there on the net that you can simply watch videos or read articles and find you can do and write anything!

ADM: It’s always good to have someone on the team. Now, you have published many books since then, what was something that you were surprised to learn along the way about the writing itself, or as an author?

DB: Other than how precise and formulaic stories have become in structure and themes. It’s not a bad thing, but it was surprising to see if you knew what to watch for in any story. I think another thing that surprised me especially was the fight scenes. I never anticipated how daunting they could be. You must choreograph everything, everyone and every hit long before you write it out. Too much rides on getting those details right and they can totally throw your story off or derail a great plot. My first battle scene so scared me that I stopped writing for several months before finally braving an attempt. It was stage fright but for writing!

ADM: That sounds like a challenge. Were there any scenes that you were proud of, or perhaps a personal favorite?

DB: Each time you finish a story it becomes your absolute favorite child. Then you write another and that suddenly becomes your favorite. As far as a favorite scene I can’t narrow it down that precise, but Elude, my crime/horror story I cannot help but feel the happiest with. I get excited by it every time I think about it and what happened overall with the storyline.

There’s another crime-horror story I am developing which has a couple common elements with Elude, so it is called Evade. I get literally giddy thinking about its story. Guess that doesn’t really answer your question, but I am just so thrilled and happy with the complete tales I have been able to piece together and share with my fans.

ADM: That’s awesome though. Is Evade the next release we can expect from you? Care to share something about the story for those that aren’t familiar with Elude?

DB: My current schedule for my works in progress go as the third fantasy novel in my Wyvernshield series (the end of the trilogy) then the first Evade, then possibly publication of a web series I am doing called Juxtaposed, a fantasy/dystopian tale. As far as Evade goes, it will be a police drama (the main characters) and it takes place in Philly. My first horror novella, In Four Days, took place in Philly and a character from In Four Days will come back and crossover into Evade. I did the same with Elude where one of the main characters, Detective Ellis, was a character in In Four Days. Essentially Elude and Evade are tied to the horror novella In Four Days.

My fantasy world is connected, and my horror story world is connected. By the way, I put a lot of free excerpts of the books and stories on my website. The first five chapters of Elude #1 were on there for instance. Something fans can take advantage of!

ADM: It sounds like that while each series is separate on its own. But are they are all tangentially connected?

DB: Yes! I think it adds a lot to the back story. I remember that as a fan reader when I found that Cujo, The Eyes of the Dragon, The Dead Zone and The Stand all were connected in subtle ways by Stephen King, it really made a big impact. This was of course before you had the Marvel Universe and things like that. I think King kind of pioneered that front.

ADM: Agreed. So, with that in mind, was there any significance to the titles when you chose them?

DB: Elude and Evade were meant to give you the sense of chase and desperation. An air of frantic suspense. Consequences Within Chaos and The Bleeding Crown which are my two fantasy stories are titled based on the content. In Four Days too could be said to be titled for content as the demon that hunts for lost souls in Philly toys with his victims for four straight days before he takes them. In Evade one of the supposed victims of the demon in In Four Days suddenly shows up on a street corner… and that is all I can hint about that!

ADM: In having multiple series, was the first book more difficult than the others to write or vice versa?

DB: No, I am finding that the end of the series is the challenge! Everyone has “fallen in love” with your world and your characters thus you can’t let them down (aka GAME OF THRONES SYNDROME!). I worried that Elude wasn’t going to live up to expectations, but so far, I have been getting a lot of positive feedback on it. I hope that the third Wyvernshield will have the same result. Right now, I am struggling with the title. It’s either going to be Swimming in the Ashes or Sentinels of the Shield. Then down the road I want to do another whole fantasy trilogy in that same world but with a new set of character/creatures starting in Aberrisc (readers will understand that reference!) versus starting in the sister world of Tayneva like I did with this series. I think since I didn’t get going until I was 40 that all these stories have piled up in me and are dying to get out now! I keep having story ideas come out of nowhere and won’t stop running around in my head until they get released!

ADM: Sounds like you’ve got a lot planned out! So, tell us, is writer’s block something you believe in?

DB: No. But you must know yourself as a writer. Like I said before, I found out that outlines were my lifeline. Without a good outline, I would flounder in my story, get writer’s block or lose interest and story momentum. With the outline, it became technically my first draft. For instance, with Consequences I had a bullet outline that was 70+ pages and 80+ pages for The Bleeding Crown. My fantasy stories are long and involved with several plots, etc. My horror stories tend to have “beat outlines” which are usually less than 20+ pages. They’re complicated tales too, but it’s usually the protagonist versus the villain/monster and how badly the main character is “almost” screwed. In other words, it is like the difference in needed outlines for the movie Jaws vs The Lord of the Rings. Great stories each but Jaws is a bit more cut and dry so to speak.

ADM: Any anticipated release dates coming up?

DB: Unfortunately, no. I try to write daily or work on editing/marketing every day, but I’ve got a new and very involved day job as a marketing supervisor with an insurance company. The change from night shift to day shift has impacted my production heavily. I am working at finding ways to get more done, but my “expensive hobby” doesn’t pay my bills thus the day job has to be in my reality. Right now, 2020 and 2021 will have work produced & published. Elude is almost set to have an audible version in the next month or so! I am excited to hear it. The voice actor, S.W. Salzman is fantastic!! And of course, the voice actress, Laura Richcreek, who did the fantasy novels will be doing the third book when it’s completed. Her talent has no limits!

ADM: Fair enough. That’s exciting for the audio release! Do you attend any writing events like NaNoWriMo or Camp Nano? What has your experience been with these events?

DB: I have participated in Nanowrimo and while I see the appeal and the motivation it can provide, I found it just didn’t work for me, especially schedule-wise. The first year I “won” with Elude but then the following year I tried to write fantasy and my outline was just not complete enough. I don’t think I’ll do it this year, but I haven’t fully decided. I write all the time and the idea of only writing for one or two months in the year kind of blows my mind. My production goals require me to get to it faster I guess is what I am saying. If I didn’t have the extra responsibility of a day job and a family of three children to raise, I would probably be more engaged with it. No one wants to see themselves fall behind and fail.

ADM: I agree. Well Derek, thanks so much for talking with me. It’s been a blast and I’d love to catch your release party! Do you have any parting remarks for the readers?

DB: Thanks again for this great opportunity! Writing is now just a facet of me that won’t stop or go away, so I just want fans to know that I am still writing, still carving out worlds and tales to entertain them. Please be patient with me and I’ll always try to make it worth the wait!

LINKS:

https://authorderekbarton.blog

https://www.facebook.com/NovelistDerekBarton/

ELUDE Ebook Trailer:

https://www.facebook.com/derek.barton.96/videos/10212239066646343/UzpfSTE4NDcwNzY2MzU1MDUyNjM6MjM2NDQ4Njc3NzA5NzU3Nw/

Making Bi-Monthly Goals Work For You — Derek Barton — 2019

Goal 1 2019Back in late July of 2017, I started working with the concept for Bi-monthly Goals introduced to me by Kristen Martin in her Youtube video: How To Crush Your Goals in 2017 + My Jan and Feb Bimonthly Goals.

With little tweaks and experimenting with my own additions, I obtained my best production and career momentum ever in 2018! I managed to go from producing one novel a year to producing last year a novel and two novellas while increasing my posts in a weekly blog and a monthly newsletter. More than doubling my word count productivity.

I wanted to write out and give you the scoop of my research:

  • What are Bi-Monthly Goals?  Concise goals written specifically with clear expectations, a set prioritization and a detailed impact to your objective all with a two-month deadline. By deciding where you want to go, how to get there and when you are going to make it happen, the goal’s success and outcome are almost a given. Be exact and as realistic as you can be when developing these goals in order to have a satisfactory and critical improvement outcome. The purpose of the goal is to be obtainable and to further you along in getting to your overall desired dream. Take time to think of what you really want with that goal, see it in your mind how you can do it and visualize what it will do for you by accomplishing that goal.
  • How many Bi-Monthly Goals should you make in the two months?  I have tried to push myself and have around ten to twelve goals. Other times, I have lowered the pressure and gone down to less than five goals. It is really determined by you and what you can handle.  Also, don’t be afraid to shift the number about to account for busier times in your life — like if holidays are going to interfere then prepare for them.  The outcome is not to have the most listed goals, but to have the most completed and successful goals set up.
  • Why do you need to prioritize them?  As often with “to-do lists”, one tends to wander or scatter their efforts on several goals at the same time or work the easiest first. To have a prioritization factor on the goal, it helps keep you focused on the biggest and most important items. I set the prioritization as Highest Priority,  Important Priority and Least Priority.  Working the priorities as ranked has the highest chance of success. Meaning if I can accomplish my Highest and Important Priorities then I can still get minor goals completed in the timeframe.  However, if the Highest Priority is still sitting there near the end of the two months, I know I should not even think about spending energies on the Least Priority objectives.
  • How do I score my success with the Bi-Monthly Goals?  Completing all of the goals in the two-month timeframe, of course, is a “100% Win”, but often, factors and unforeseen events will come up and interfere with your plan.  I shoot for the “100% Win”, but realistically 85% is the common “Win Success”. Be flexible, be patient and always remain confident that these goals can be completed the next two months — there is no failure!  Highest Priority percentage is 25%, Important percentage is 15% and Least Priority would be 10%. In example, if I were to have five goals at 90% = (2 of the Highest, 2 of the Important and 1 of the Least Priority goals) set as my Bi-Monthly Goals and I completed 2 of the Highest and 1 of the Important (65%) then overall it is a “72% Win”.  To be a successful “Win” then I would have had to complete 2 Highest and 2 Important then I’d have 80% of the 90% which comes to “89% Win”. Yes, it is easy to slip in a Least Priority goal, but it is important to follow your priority ranking so as to be sure you are making the most of your time that you have and accomplishing the items that most matter to you!

Bi-Monthly Goals are incredible motivators as well as a rough draft guide to your overall business/writing plans for the future. These simple milestones will advance you in small baby steps every two months to acquiring bigger and better dreams and objectives at the end of the year that you’d never thought could happen for you!

Juxtaposed – The Character Cast — Derek Barton

Juxtaposed 2019JUXTAPOSED is a very complex tale that weaves back and forth among two planes of reality and back and forth among characters with almost the same names.  While it is a daunting storyline it is worth the effort — think of the movie, Inception or the thriller Memento.  They may hurt your head…at first, but once you grasp the concepts you can follow along.

I decided to give you a little cheat sheet.  Shhhhh take it, the Overseer isn’t watching! HA!

Remember there are two worlds and two sets of young men.  One set in the fantasy world of Tayneva at the Temple of Kove, the other set in the Enddawn prison encampment of Kav’zera.

 

alexandar-alexender-2Alexendar — Elexendar (Garrett Hedlund) =

Alexendar of Kove: Considered their leader by the other Bhik-sunii students. Alex strives to be fair and even heroic but does have a curious, rebellious side as well.

Elexendar in Enddawn: Hardened by his childhood experiences among the Yularis rebellion soldiers. He tends to be selfish and even ruthless.

 

thomass-thomess

Thomess — Thomass (Paul Craddock) =

Thomess of Kove: Known to be the most pious and religious among the clerical students. He is overall good-natured and brave.

Thomass in Enddawn: Considered to be the leader among the prisoners due to his officer position and a heroic story of rescuing villagers soon to be executed.

 

romann-romunn-1Romunn — Rovunn (Michael B. Jordan) =

Romunn of Kove: Very loyal to Alexander, considers him his best friend. Also, he’s known as the prankster and joker of the group.

Rovunn in Enddawn: He is often good-spirited and outgoing. Like his counterpart, he is very loyal but to Thomass. His cell tube is next to his best friend, Welleum.

 

Gregge - GreigeGregge — Greige (Alex Wolff) =

Gregge of Kove: The smallest boy in the group as well as the most intelligent. He is often upbeat in spite of the teasing and sometimes bullying by the other boys.

Greige in Enddawn: Still the smallest of the gang, but suffered a horrendous injury upon his capture and arrest. Now blind, he regrets his involvement with the Rebellion.

 

willeum-welleumWilleum — Welleum (Thomas Brodie-Sangster) =

Willeum of Kove:  Often has a negative and pecismistic point of view.  He tends to believe luck, people and everything is against him. Not extremely intelligent and the others just have not had the will to exclude him from their activities.

Welleum in Enddawn: Charismatic and even brave under pressure. He is very well liked by the other boys and relied upon as a trusted member.  Still loyal to the Yularis Movement, he’s looking for a way to escape and bring the others with him.

 

charlse-charellsCharlse — Charells (Will Poulter) =

Charlse of Kove:  He is secretly not welcomed in the group like Willeum, but it is more that they are afraid of what he might do as retaliation for being snubbed.  He is often selfish and greedy, if not outright mean.  The others fear he may even snitch on them if he’s not included.

Charells in Enddawn:  Has been in lockup for seven years and has the record for the longest prison sentence.  This has made him pretty bitter and even evil to some.  No longer hoping to get out, he works to take what he wants or do whatever he can to give the Malatt guards as much grief and trouble possible.

 

Tressmen - ThressdenSuperior Tressmen — Overseer Thressden (Michael Ironside) =

Superior Tressmen of Kove:  A father-figure (no pun intended) to all the clergy of the Temple of Kove.  He has been at the helm of the church for almost eight years. Works extensively to build rapport with the boys to lead them out of mischief. At times his temper has gotten away from him, sometimes a tad zealous in his discipline, but overall he is fair.

Overseer Thressden, Warden of Enddawn:  A militant commander and a former Sergeant-of-arms in the Crest Infantry.  He has carried over his methods for strict discipline and harsh enforcement of the prison rules.  There have never been any escapes under his watch which he boasts often about. He has authorized the Malatt guards to carry weapons and assault if necessary to maintain order and stability in Enddawn.

 

 

Hope this helps paint the picture of the story scenes in your mind easier.  Stay tuned for new installments — Chapters Four: Walking Dreams and Chapter Five:  Waking Nightmares!