AUGUST 2018 GRAND GIVEAWAY — Derek Barton

 

FOR AUGUST:

Enter the $500 Midsummer’s Dream Giveaway

Enter the $500 Midsummer’s Dream Giveaway

$500 Midsummer's Dream GiveawaySummer’s flying by and it’s finally time to Enter the $500 Midsummer’s Dream Giveaway. With 6 amazing prizes, this giveaway is steaming hot.

So tell your reader friends to Enter the $500 Midsummer’s-Dream Giveaway and get bonus entry points, grab a copy of one or more of our sponsor’s highly rated books, free, or discounted deals.

Then follow your favorite new authors! The Midsummer’s Dream Giveaway is just another way The Kindle Book Review and Digital Book Today are bringing you great books, by talented authors in a fun and interactive giveaway! We are the No.1 site for reader giveaways, and the Midsummer’s Dream Giveaway is just another way we do it. Good luck, reader friends, and have a super duper spectacular summer!

What:$500 Midsummer’s Dream Giveaway

When: August 1 – 31.

Prizes: 1 – Kindle Paperwhite Travel Bundle ($200 value), 2 – Kindle eReaders ($160 value), 1 – 8″ Kindle Fire HD ($100 value), 1 – $25 Amazon eCard.

HOW: Scroll through the book covers below and make a note of the books that appeal to you. Then enter the Rafflecopter form below. You can get BONUS entry points every day for sharing and supporting our sponsoring authors.

HINT: There is no purchase necessary to win, but you get BONUS entry points every day you support our sponsors. And, YES, you can buy our sponsors’ books. In fact, please do; it’s the only way we can continue these awesome giveaways. So scroll through the book covers below and check out the books that appeal to you. Then follow the authors that write the kind of books you love in the Rafflecopter form below. Who knows, you just might find your next favorite author! Have a great summer, and good luck, readers!

 

GOOD LUCK EVERYONE!!!

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SECOND YEAR BLOG SITE ANNIVERSARY!!! — Derek Barton

Blog 70 Anniversary

This year has flown — I cannot believe how fast it flew by!

I started this blog in July of 2016 to help promote my new book and to do some writing research as well as experience sharing.  While the climb up the mountain is far from over, I can look back over my shoulder proudly.

Here is a list of writing goals that I have accomplished in the year since my last blog anniversary:

  • Written, edited and published The Bleeding Crown as well as designed the book cover myself!  I am super happy with the outcome of the story and hope to begin outlining the series finale soon.  Expect to see it in 2020!!
  • Written two more novellas like In Four Days.  My upcoming Horror-Suspense series, Elude: Part One and Elude: Part Two will be published by the end of the year.
  • Participated and wrote 50,241 words in the month of November for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) Challenge.  That was the first time I  took part in it and plan to this November as well.
  • Wrote and edited every couple of weeks (give or take) a horror web series with my father T.D. Barton called The Hidden.  It has been very fulfilling for the both of us I believe.  He finally gets to see his own writing come to fruition — it only took 30 years!   In the upcoming year, it will be released in full book format.
  • Partnered up with two voice actors for my works — Consequences Within Chaos (which is available now on Audible.com) and In Four Days (which will be released on Audible by the end of the year!)   Really happy with the productions and I have already gotten Laura Richcreek (the actress for CWC) to start on The Bleeding Crown.   Nothing is more thrilling than hearing your words performed.  Not a movie (yet!  heh heh heh) but very close to a play as far as performance.

Blog stats and growth since 2017 and from its start in 2016:

  • 1303 views / 862 visitors since July 2017
  • 1603 views / 659 in 2016 and all together that is 2,906 views / 1,521 people that have read and/or visited my writer’s blog since it was first started in July 2016.
  • This is the 70th Blog Post for the site!
  • 36 followers through WordPress and current email list @ 2,226!!
  • Readers have checked in from 42 different countries around the globe!!!
  • 310 Followers on Twitter, 90 Followers on my Facebook page, 25 Followers/166 Friends on Goodreads.com and now on Instagram 82 Followers! — It’s a small tribe but we are growing!

What’re my goals for the next year?

  1. Book a table at a book festival or comic-con in Arizona.
  2. Find a local bookstore to do a book-signing in Phoenix, Arizona.
  3. Maintain monthly book/audiobook giveaways.
  4. Write another novella, Elude: Part Three.
  5. Finalize and publish The Hidden.
  6. Write a fantasy novella — perhaps in the same world as the novels, but maybe something brand new?!
  7. Get The Bleeding Crown and Elude series on Audible as well!
  8. Do at least one out of state large comic-con like the Amazing Las Vegas Comic-con.
  9. Write at least another 50,000 words in NaNoWriMo Challenge.
  10. Keep on finding new ways to attract readers to this blog and find new stories to entertain you with!!

RECOGNITIONS:

  • Special shout out to Ted Barton — not only my mentor and my toughest critic (lol!), but my biggest inspiration.  Without your own endeavors to push the envelope, I would not have the confidence to reach for my own.  Thank you for all your guidance and love.
  • Thank you to Nesa Miller who has diligently helped me with my work and really shown me ways to improve upon my writing.  You don’t always beat around the bush with how you feel, but your assistance and targeted editing has been a huge boost to my work!  You may not yet have your own Editing Site going yet, but when you do, you’ll be a great success!!
  • My friend and great supporter, Jon Paul Rai, who has worked with me on both of my fantasy novels and has been a strong advocate on his own Youtube Channel, Entertainment Hacker.  Check him out if you are a Star Wars Fan as he has some great material and insight into the storylines and the direction they SHOULD go!
  • Nothing but praise and gratitude to my voice actor partners (Laura Richcreek and Charles Pendleton).  You have brought to life my characters and taken the writing to that next level.  I can never repay you for your time and efforts in that!  Thanks so much.
  • My number one fans and beta-readers, Susanna Willey and Renee York!  You guys have truly made this a blast and your reviews on Amazon and Goodreads have absolutely put me on Cloud Nine.  I appreciate all your efforts to spread the word and to get my name out there!
  • Last I would like to thank Susanne Lambdin for her words of advice on marketing and continued support for my own growth as a writer.  Thank you for your partnership and I look forward to the day we can attend another comic-con together!

 

THANKS TO ALL OF YOU WHO HAVE SUPPORTED, READ AND GIVEN ME ASSISTANCE WITH MY WORK!  It truly honors me any time I hear that someone has enjoyed or been entertained by my work.  There are a million storytellers in all sorts of styles and manner.  I know that for you to pick my writing to spend your own precious time with cannot be taken for granted or wasted.  Each time I think maybe this isn’t what I should be doing with my life or sacrificing my energies on, someone reminds me how it touched their world and it made a difference to them.  As a writer, I cannot ask for anything more.

Here’s to our lives and paths continuing to cross in the future!

Regards, Derek

2018 July & August Bi-Monthly Goals — Derek Barton

July Goal

It’s time for more goal setting and goal results!

I do want to apologize that I skipped out of sending a post for May & June.  The only goals I had for those two months were to produce The Bleeding Crown and the audiobook for Consequences Within Chaos.  So for those two months, I was successful, but the effort was all-consuming.  I am frankly still worn out!

 

Now for the results of March & April Bi-Monthly goals:

  • Outline new chapters for subplots and additional material – Finish by 2nd week of March  (Success!)
  • Finish writing new subplots/additional material – Finish by 3rd week of March (Success!)
  • Complete 3rd Wave of edits & send out to Beta Readers – Finish by end of March  (Success!)
  • Complete 1st Wave of edits for Elude #1 – Finish by end of April (Not completed in April.)
  • Complete the Cover for The Bleeding Crown – Finish by end of March (Not completed until late May.  Went through over thirty variations!  But the result worked out and I am very happy with the cover.)
  • Get feedback from beta-readers – Finish by end of April (Not completed in April.)
  • Complete the 4th wave and final edit for The Bleeding Crown – Finish by end of April (Not completed in April.)
  • Write a separate blog entry outside of goals and The Hidden Saga — Finish by 2nd week for April (Not accomplished.)
  • Walk 1 mile a day (60 miles for the two months) – Complete for both months (Sadly this didn’t happen either as I donated every minute into getting The Bleeding Crown ready for release.)
  • Send out Monthly Newsletters by 15th of the month – Complete for both months (Success!)
  • Keep up The Hidden saga on the website every 2 weeks – Complete for both months (Success!)

So the overall results were not pretty — 50% of the goals my lowest scoring yet — but I am still very happy with my latest novel.  I have taken the time after the book release to recoup some and will be able to jump into the horror/action/thriller.  Already, the work for Elude is going very smoothly.

 

Now for the NEW goals for July & August Bi-Monthly goals:

  • Complete the Audiobook for In Four Days.
  • Create/organize this year’s 2018 Indie Fantasy Book Giveaway with several other independent authors.
  • Add a new page to the site showcasing associates and people I have worked with and what they can do for other writers.
  • Find at least two places to do a book-signing appearance.
  • Schedule one or two more comic-cons or book festivals by the end of the year.
  • Finish editing for Elude #1 & #2.
  • Design the book cover for Elude #1 & #2.
  • Write the end of Elude #3.
  • Send out Monthly Newsletters by 15th of the month.
  • Keep up The Hidden saga on the website every 2 weeks.

You may notice that I didn’t include any health or personal goals here.  I am working on finding a better balance with my free time with writing work and health/fitness time.  Plus I have a family that I want to see more of!

In 2016 and 2017, I walked up to 3 or 4 miles nearly every night.  In 2018, I have fallen into a bad pattern of not walking and spending a lot of time on my writing.  But my health has seriously suffered and I am my heaviest weight ever.  I am admitting this because I know that I can and will do better.  For now, I will be posting my writing goals.  Once I have decided what direction I want to take with my health, I will then maybe include those personal/health goals.

It has already been a successful and productive year and I hope to keep it growing.  I hope each of you has also had an amazing year.  Thanks to everyone who has supported me or been a cheerleader — IT IS GREATLY APPRECIATED!!

 

 

 

 

 

2018 March & April Bi-Monthly Goals — Derek Barton

Capture 15

It is that time again to recap my progress on the Bi-Monthly goals I had for January & February and reveal what I want to accomplish this March & April.

For January & February:

** Complete the 2nd wave of edits for The Bleeding Crown — Finish by 3rd Week of Jan  —  This has been completed, but now I have a ton of writing and adding of material to bolster the manuscript.  I have two people helping me do even more in-depth editing and that is nearing the midway point.

** Start 1st wave of edits for Elude #1 — Begin by the 4th week of Jan — Started and worked up to the third scene.  I will continue this project with more intensity once the editing and additional writing have been completed for Bleeding Crown.

** Work of Cover for The Bleeding Crown — Begin by 2nd week of Jan —  This project took up a lot more time than it should have and I used it as an easy excuse to avoid writing…  The additional chapter material I have left for The Bleeding Crown is complex and will take a lot of plotting and organizing (battles, chase scene, etc!).  So far I have 12 different covers worked up but I am not happy with any of them.  I will be putting up the “favs” so far for a vote on my newsletter for this month.  Please let me know what you think!

** Complete Marketing Campaign for The Bleeding Crown — Finish by the 4th week of Jan — Started but not in earnest as I still have more research on proper marketing techniques to accomplish.  I want to advertise but I need to be sure it is the best use of my marketing budget.  If anyone has suggestions — things that have worked well for them, please comment below!

** Complete story subplot and finalize The Bleeding Crown (25,000+ words) — Begin by 2nd Week of Jan — Wrote only 8,000 words of the 25,000 I need.  This goal will definitely be carried forward and will have to be done PRONTO!

** Finalize work on Marketing Campaign for Consequences Within Chaos Audiobook — Begin by 2nd week of Jan  — The audiobook is still being worked on but the project had a setback due to some unforeseen issues.  No worries, as it is coming along and sounds great, however, I pushed this goal to the backburner until the audiobook is closer to being completed.

** Write a separate blog entry outside of goals and The Hidden Saga — Finish by 2nd Week of Feb — Really happy with this accomplishment and the blog itself has been attracting a lot of attention.  If you missed it:  Essential Elements of Book Covers

** Lose 15 pounds by end of February — Lose 2 pounds a week  — UGH.  I seesawed back and forth with a few pounds both months, but overall not much success.  Damn Burger King and its 2 for $6 offer!!  LOL    I am going to change the goal focus next month.  I want to start with baby steps to ensure that I have some weight loss.  In other words, I am going to make a goal as walking a mile a night for the next 60 days which equals to 60 miles.  I know that sounds like a lot, but last year I was in the habit of walking 3 to 4 miles each night.  Then if that works, the next goal set will add some possible weightlifting or dietary goals.  This should kickstart my weight loss, but we shall see!

** Send out Monthly Newsletters by 15th of the month — Completed by Feb 15th — Done and will continue to carry this goal forward.

** Keep up The Hidden saga on the website every 2 weeks — Finished by 4th Week of Feb — Done and will continue to carry this goal forward.  If you are behind, CATCH UP!  Chapter 8, Chapter 9 & Chapter 10 are available…

So… excluding the Audiobook goal, I completed 6 out of 9 (67%) which isn’t horrible and getting closer to “success” (80%).

Now for the next Bi-Monthly goals:

  • Outline new chapters for subplots and additional material – Finish by 2nd week of March
  • Finish writing new subplots/additional material – Finish by 3rd week of March
  • Complete 3rd Wave of edits & send out to Beta Readers – Finish by end of March
  • Complete 1st Wave of edits for Elude #1 – Finish by end of April
  • Complete the Cover for The Bleeding Crown – Finish by end of March
  • Get feedback from beta-readers – Finish by end of April
  • Complete the 4th wave and final edit for The Bleeding Crown – Finish by end of April
  • Write a separate blog entry outside of goals and The Hidden Saga — Finish by 2nd week for April
  • Walk 1 mile a day (60 miles for the two months) – Complete for both months
  • Send out Monthly Newsletters by 15th of the month – Complete for both months
  • Keep up The Hidden saga on website every 2 weeks – Complete for both months

Thanks again for everyone’s support and interest in my progress.  I am super thrilled with the storyline for The Bleeding Crown and anxious to hear everyone’s input on it.  And Elude is also an exciting project that I cannot wait to sink my teeth in.

Let me know if you had any suggestions for marketing!  What was your experience with Facebook ads?  Any success with Amazon Ads or did you have a different source for advertising?

 

Capture 14

 

The Essential Elements of Book Covers — Derek Barton

Book Covers Blog

When there are hundreds of new books traditionally published or self-published on a daily basis, how will your work stand out?

When a reader scans through the Amazon or Kindle online sites and spends one to two seconds on your novel’s image, how will you keep their attention?

These are just two of the critical questions you should ask yourself and give serious thought to when it comes to your book’s cover.  The easiest way to make or lose sales depends on how you present your novel.

It is just that simple, and yet, IMPORTANT.

I have possibly two or three of my own works coming out this year so I wanted to be sure I had all the available tools and weapons from the industry at my disposal.  Thus, for the last month, I have been reading articles, documenting notes and discovering just what the professionals consider a “professional book cover”.  What were the keys to the “best” covers and what are the strikes that torpedo cover art?

Here are some of the laws or elements that the professionals have suggested and I have outlined here for you!  They are broken down into three subjects:  Overall Principles, Style and Typesetting.

Overall Principles:

  • Keep it simple!
  • Let the cover “breathe” —  keep the cover open and not crowded.   If they don’t know what to focus on, they are just going to skip past it.
  • Use no more than three different colors and include black, white, or grey.  
  • Focus on a theme or emotion.  Relate it to what your story is about.  This is your novel’s billboard after all!
  • Find good imagery.  Don’t use anything blurry or cluttered which can confuse the reader and make them move on.

 

Style:

  • Place a darkened border around the edges to make the cover POP or stand out.
  • Beware using centered text as it creates a “wineglass effect”.  This effect has become cliché and earmarked as amateurish.
  • Create an imaginary box for implied margins.  All your words, titles and names should stay within the box and not go to the edge of your page.
  • Consider “ghosted boxes” or page divisions for text.  This can help keep fonts colors from blending or contrasting with your image colors.
  • Composition – make a grid of your cover and keep in mind the placement of each itemThis will prevent clusters or odd centering issues.

 

Typesetting:

  • Limit your cover to as few typefaces as you can.  The fewer fonts you have the more simplistic, cleaner look.
  • Avoid script and calligraphy typefaces!  If the title or YOUR NAME is hard to read, then what is the point?  I broke this one myself on my first book cover version — It may look awesome to you, but if the reader cannot tell what it says, then no one will care what it says.
  • Distressed text should not have uniform letters.  If your font looks like it has marbling, be sure that there isn’t consistent marbling in each letter or it will not look natural.
  • Don’t stretch or condense words!
  • Kern your text – letter spacing.  Kerning is the process of adjusting the spacing between characters in a proportional font, usually to achieve a visually pleasing result.  It will also prevent your words from being misinterpreted.

As I stated above, these are just the most consistent laws or elements discussed when describing the fundamentals to book cover art that I have found.  There are other factors that can produce or reduce sales.  And sometimes there are “break out” covers that will not adhere to these rules and are very successful.  It all comes down to fan judgment and book sales success to really know if you scored well on your book cover design.

I truly hope that this is beneficial to your own book cover creations and if you have a suggestion or an element that you would suggest, feel free to comment.

 

2018 Jan & Feb Bi-Monthly Goals — Derek Barton

Goal #1

THIS IS MY YEAR!!  (My new mantra!)

 

It is a brand new year with a whole year of opportunity!  I am super excited by what I have planned in store for 2018.  With these bi-monthly goal blogs that I started using this last July, I have really put in a lot of work and accomplished a lot which I will now be able to share with you guys this year.

A quick recap of the year and what I finished up in December:

From July through November —

** Finalize my Chapter Outlines for Bleeding Crown
** Completed my first draft of Bleeding Crown
** Wrote 43,000 words in July
** Completed two large book giveaways (one being my Indie Book Giveaway)
** Obtained over 1500 email subscribers
** Completed a monthly newsletter every month
** Outlined the first three books of the Elude Series
** Created a NaNoWriMo Outline Prep folder
** Completed the first wave of editing for The Bleeding Crown
** Started a 2nd job for extra money for Book Project Saving and monthly income
** Posted 6 chapters of The Hidden, the collaboration I am working with my father

Completed For November & December:

**Complete NaNoWriMo Challenge: 50,000 words — HUGE WIN FOR ME!  This was a fantastic experience and I highly recommend the challenge for any writer out there.  It motivates you and their site provides a ton of information, networking and forums.  Here is their site:  National Novel Writing Month
** Start Round #2 of Editing for The Bleeding Crown
** Create marketing campaign for CWC Audio Book
** Research Arizona Book and Comic cons.
** Send out Monthly Newsletters by 15th of month
** Keep up The Hidden saga on website every 2 weeks

Now for 2018, I have also decided to not only break down my goals every 2 months, but I am also determining when those goals should be accomplished within the two month period.  This will help me be even more successful and organized, but it will also keep me on track.  I am using an Excel Chart Setup for this and have already broken down goals for the first half of the year on there.

For January & February:

** Complete the 2nd wave of edits for The Bleeding Crown — Finish by 3rd Week of Jan
** Start 1st wave of edits for Elude #1 — Begin by 4th week of Jan
** Work of Cover for The Bleeding Crown — Begin by 2nd week of Jan
** Complete Marketing Campaign for The Bleeding Crown — Finish by 4th week of Jan
** Complete story subplot and finalize The Bleeding Crown (25,000+ words) — Begin by 2nd Week of Jan
** Finalize work on Marketing Campaign for Consequences Within Chaos Audiobook — Begin by 2nd week of Jan
** Write a separate blog entry outside of goals and The Hidden Saga — Finish by 2nd Week of Feb
** Lose 15 pounds by end of February — Lose 2 pounds a week
** Send out Monthly Newsletters by 15th of month — Completed by Feb 15th
** Keep up The Hidden saga on website every 2 weeks — Finished by 4th Week of Feb

By the end of this year, my hope is to be able to produce for you The Bleeding Crown (sequel to Consequences Within Chaos) by mid-2018, Consequences Within Chaos Audiobook on Audible.com by mid-2018, the first two books of the Elude (horror/action story) by the end of 2018 and the complete work of The Hidden online (and subsequently published in 2019!).

As I said, it is going to be an intense and productive year ahead, but I am so excited to share my worlds and my writing with each of you!  My wish is that for all of you as well to have a great, productive and wonderful new year!

 

Goal #2

 

 

2017 NaNoWriMo NOVEMBER & DECEMBER Bi-monthly Goals! — Derek Barton

Capture 10

It’s been two very busy months already…  Hard to believe how fast time has been marching past me on the road this year!  Having these bi-monthly goals really has kept me productive, but at the same time, it has made the days feel like sand flowing through my fingers!

So quick recap of last month’s goals and outcome:

  1. Outline first two books of Elude SeriesSuccess! I have both developed and set up for NaNoWriMo!
  2. Develop the character cast and their background of Elude Series — Success!  The list of my characters keep growing and I need to do more backstory on some, but I am prepped with the majority.
  3. Create a NaNoWriMo Prep Folder in Scrivener and complete the list of development items – Success! A quick progress report on that: I am already hip-deep into the writing and have done already 15,700+ on Elude so far in November!
  4. Write 1,000 words per day – blogging, outlining, writing – Partial credit. I wasn’t able to really do that much actual writing and it’s hard to account how much I did especially when writing up characters, working on outlines and newsletters, etc.
  5. On October 1st, start editing phase for The Bleeding Crown – Success! I completed the first round of editing on 10/29.  I will be picking up this manuscript again in December after my NaNoWriMo Challenge.
  6. Design book cover for Rookie: Pitfalls of Year One – Not completed.  I have decided to shelve this idea for now.  I like the idea of working up a non-fiction reference book for new writers, but I do not want to stop my momentum right now with my Epic Fantasy and my two horror series.
  7. Write new book blurbs for all my works and revamp all of the Amazon ads. – Not completed. I also changed my mind about this for now.  I will probably revisit this in the future.
  8. Complete a newsletter for each month. – Success!
  9. Find a part-time post or two – extra income to help with new bills and investment in writing projects/marketing. – Success! I am working my day job right now 6 days out of 7.  It is our busiest time of the year so it requires overtime anyway.  On the 7th day I work a part-time food delivery job (just like… Vic Vargas in Elude! Ha!  Hope I have a better experience than he did.  LOL!)
  10. Lose at least 15 pounds in the next two months through refined calorie counting/nightly walking/weight lifting. – FAIL! But to be fair, I have been working so much and have had a lot going on with my writing that I have just not had the energy or time.  I am going to certainly forward this goal on to the next round.
  11. Read a writers craft book, listen to podcasts and youtube blogs weekly on marketing/writingPartial credit. I have continued to make time for writing videos and reading blogs, but I didn’t read a writers craft book.
  12. Start a new series of blog posts. – Success! Very happy with the new series I am doing.  My father and I are doing a collaboration called The Hidden which is an origin story of the werewolf ideology.  His original manuscript was written in the 90s so it is a throwback to that time (think Stranger Things, IT).  I am releasing excerpts every two weeks. The Hidden
  13. Research and find alternative artists for projects (i.e. poker cards portraits, calendar and bio cards). – Fail. I put this also on the backburner and I really don’t know when or how I will get this accomplished.  If anyone has ideas or knows of an artist who would want to go into a partnership, please let me know!

Result – 8 out of 12 goals met so 67%… Not great, not bad.  But I will keep fighting the good fight!

 

November & December Goals:

  1. Complete the NaNoWriMo Challenge – 50,000 Word Count for Book #1 and Book #2 of Elude
  2. Start Round #2 of editing for The Bleeding Crown.
  3. Start Round #1 of editing for Elude Series #1.
  4. Decide on Cover Art for Elude Series.
  5. Start a savings plan for professional editing of The Bleeding Crown.
  6. Create marketing ads and decide on a marketing campaign for Consequences Within Chaos Audiobook.
  7. Lose 15 pounds by end of year.
  8. Research possible Phoenix and Arizona Book Festivals/Comic-cons to participate in.
  9. Continue to send out monthly newsletters.
  10. Keep up The Hidden horror series every two weeks.

Little fewer goals than the prior goal blogs, but being that I am working and writing daily, I think I can give myself a bit of pass on that.   

I do appreciate the support I get from you guys and family alike!  It is very much appreciated!!

2017 Bio Blog — Derek Barton

JJ 2016 #2

 

Recently I noticed a trend on Youtube.com where writers were making vlogs and answering questions about themselves as well as writing rituals and practices.  So, I thought I would do this as well and even throw in some random personal questions.  You can learn a few things I do as well as learn something new about me at the same time!

I will start with the writing ritual questions first and then get down to some random and fun facts about me.

  • When do you write?  I am a night owl which is perfect for my writing as I need the quiet time to be free of distractions.  These elements help me to immerse into my writing zone.  With my day job I am fortunate that it starts later in the day and I can sleep in!  Usually, I write from 11 or 11:30 pm to 1:30 to 2am.
  • How do you review what you wrote the previous day?  There is a lot of sound advice out there on how to produce more material on a daily basis.  The best tip so far that I picked up suggests to work non-stop and do not edit until you have completed your manuscript.  I cannot say that it was easy to resist the edit bug, but Consequences Within Chaos‘s first rough draft took me three years to write (I wasn’t as serious about writing and producing as I am now).  The Bleeding Crown, my sequel’s rough draft has only taken five months… I would say that this is proof enough that it helped me crank it out much faster.
  • What song is your “go to” when you are feeling uninspired?  I prefer to listen to classical music when I write.  Nothing but instrumentals.  At first, I used Pandora, but now I like to find large blocks of “epic music” on Youtube.  I let them play in the background as I work.  Depending on the type of story or my mood this can vary, but I do not have a “go to” song necessarily.  Soundtracks from Game of Thrones, Lord of the Rings or Braveheart also have been able to motivate me.
  • What do you always do when you are struggling with writers’ block?  To avoid writers’ block and staring at a blank screen, I work up detailed outlines.  There are many benefits to outlines and developing character backgrounds.  Prepping is the key to getting into that writer zone — that moment your writing flows from your fingertips and there is no struggle to find the right word or dialog.  I have already seen the scene in my head and now I can concentrate on relaying it in the best descriptive details I can.
  • What tools do you use when you are drafting?  I used Microsoft Word like everyone else at first, but now I prefer the writers’ program called Scrivener.  It seems that there is no middle ground in opinions on it.  You either LOVE IT OR HATE IT.  I love it!  It has a great setup to store the work, organize the notes, templates for character write-ups, outlines, everything all in one file and place.  With Word, I had a million files.  Scrivener also lets you have split screening which comes in handy often.
  • What are the things you cannot live without when you are writing?  Pretty much what I have already discussed:  Scrivener has become an integral part of my work.  And Outlining a must.  Before I realized that I work best with a map of my story, I failed to complete most stories and/or lost interests or energy in the storyline.
  • How do you fuel yourself during writing sessions?  Diet Rockstars and Popsecret Homestyle Microwave popcorn.
  • How do you know when you are done writing?  For a typical writing session, I am done when my eyes are blurring and I cannot easily put a sentence together.  I strive for a certain word count (or if I am feeling energetic, I try to do a particular scene in one shot).  My goal is 750 to 1,000 words in a session but it depends on the night, the scene I am writing and my energy level.
  • How do you persevere on projects to finish them?  Again, outlines have become the “light at the end of the tunnel” for me.  However, they can be a detriment as well if you let it completely control your writing.  In some cases, writers have complained that they are too confined by the outline or they get thrown off if they have an idea that flows outside the outline.  Or if you do like I did at the end of my first book — I kept seeing how close I was and I literally blazed through the last part to just get to that “The End” statement.  It didn’t lend itself well to the story and took a lot of rewriting.  Now that I am more experienced I have a little better control of myself.  Whatever is the case, one important factor to remember is that outlines are constructs for your use, not words set in stone.  If something strikes you suddenly and it isn’t in your outline, then simply add it. See where the idea takes you in the outline.  It is much easier to amend, add or subtract from an outline than if you change your whole story, rewrote a massive amount of text to only find out it doesn’t work after all.   As you can see, I approach writing now much more on an organized, structured viewpoint (I have poured myself into reading a lot of advice books and writing craft material).  With my word counts per day and scheduling, I know roughly when I am going to be done. I would have to say that of the various stages in writing, outlining has become my favorite.  Building that foundation produces that momentum and drive I need to finish.  I know how the idea is going to end and now I just have to write it out so that I can share that fantastic story and ending with you!
  • How do you keep consistency in your novels?  Scrivener has become a large help with keeping notes and such, but I also utilize Excel charting, Pinterest for story sources and Word files for isolated notes (you can import these into Scrivener as well).  Also, I read once that if you go back through your manuscript after you write it and plot out all the events on a timeline as they occur in the prose, you will see any possible plot holes or events that happen out of order.
  • How do you handle when you are stuck in your plot?  OYYY That is so hard to get through.  I have encountered that when a question occurs to me that I haven’t determined the answer for yet or it has happened when I haven’t really fleshed out the outline enough for that part of the story.  Take a short break, move on to the next part or go back to your outline to further think of ways to move through the block.  Give yourself some distance from it so as to give yourself another vantage point to see the issue.  Also, sometimes you can hit up other writers to bounce ideas off or you can hit the internet for possible answers or options.
  • How do you come up with ideas to fill out your outline?  Pretty much the same answer as the above question.  Maybe think of a new subplot that would add to the story that you could weave into the outline?  Be careful though.  Don’t add filler or fluff just to make word counts.  Readers will see right through that.  Make the quality just as important as the quantity as well.  Filling up the outline takes a lot of thought and this is where I have had “writers’ block” and frustration, but ideas eventually come.  Some writers let their subconscious mull it over as they sleep or during the day while on their day jobs.
  • How long did it take to write your first draft and how many edits?  I already said that the first draft was three years, but it took another two years of editing, refining, reworking and adding to the story.  Then I had to determine which path I was going to take:  Traditional or Self-publishing.  I am truly happy with the self-publishing route and the entire process has been very fulfilling.  I have learned a massive amount about my writing, myself and the writing industry over the last year.  It has also enhanced my work and my techniques.  I am passing a lot of what I learned in blogs like this so you can also jumpstart your own paths.
  • How long do you wait to revise your first draft?  This time I waited over 5 weeks (it was not easy) but was way worth the “time off” to recharge, work on other projects and was a bit of an award for working so hard.  Now I am in the heart of my first edit.  Industry experts suggest 6 weeks.  It just so happened the first of the month came up during the fifth week so it felt right to start then.  The first time I didn’t take any time off after writing to wait to edit.
  • Is there a genre that is outside your comfort zone that you think would be fun to write?   Currently, I am a horror/medieval fantasy writer and I love both.  I like to write horror just a tad more but I love to read fantasy so much that I write fantasy stories for me.  I used to read an Ed McBain’s detective novels (87th Precinct) and Stephen King’s Mr. Mercedes series has also inspired me to write in the “hard-boiled grim detective” genre.  I will be writing my Elude Novels during the NaNoWriMo Challenge this November.  I have been excited about it and so far I have gotten some really positive reactions from the samples posted online.

Now for some more personal stuff and random questions 🙂

  • Where were you born?  I am originally from a small town called Warsaw, Indiana.  I moved out to Phoenix, Arizona in 1996 and have loved it for over twenty-one years!  Summer year round is amazing.
  • What is your favorite pizza toppings?  I am a huge Hawaiian Pizza fan but it doesn’t take much to please me with pizza — just throw a couple types of meat and some cheese on it and I am there!
  • If you could eat anything right now, what would it be?  I love Snow Crab Legs!  Thanks go to my wife for showing me the great wonders of crab.
  • Where have you traveled outside the country?  I haven’t done much traveling, but I have been to Rocky Point, Mexico and various parts of Canada.  I would love to see Australia and Scotland in my lifetime though.
  • Who has been the biggest influence in your life?  Why?  The two authors that really influenced me are from two opposing genres — Stephen King, of course, made me dream of being a writer — many writers and would-be writers growing up in the 80s would agree with that.  I devoured every novel or short story I could get my hands on.  In my late twenties, I started reading fantasy and that became my new obsession.  I read and collected everything by R.A. Salvatore.  These two authors definitely shaped my writing voice.
  • What do you think is the best television show created?  I am really invested in the Game of Thrones series which should not shock anyone.  My favorite before that was Dexter (you see a theme here?  Fantasy/Horror.  I cannot seem to escape this trend!).  I have also really liked Penny Dreadful, Star Trek, Breaking Bad and the Walking Dead.
  • What do you like to do in your free time? What are your hobbies and interests?  I am a huge fan of racquetball, pickleball and tennis.  I also love hiking and occasionally I like to lift weights — which I need to make more routine!  Movies and video games are also a great source of inspiration and entertainment.  Absolutely love my family and spending time on the weekends with them especially.
  • Proudest moment in life?  Can’t help but say the moment when I first held Jessiena, my two-year-old daughter!  Every element of my life has led up to this wonderful little life in my hands and I wouldn’t have changed a thing!!
  • Do you have any tattoos and/or piercings?  I have a large shoulder tattoo that I am very happy with.  I designed it — it has a black Celtic knot in the center of a ring of three black, tribal dragon heads.  The knot represents the many convoluted ways you can take in life and the dragon heads represent the three aspects of my Past, my Present and the Future me.
  • Favorite holiday or time of year?  October and especially Halloween is the best for me.  It really brings out the creative side of me and I like to work up new costumes each year.  They tend to be nearly all undead but with twists or unique differences.  So much fun!  My wife is also going to dress this year (she hasn’t in a long time).  She will be doing the Day of the Dead look maybe.  Jessiena will be a tiny scarecrow.  She’s going to be so adorable!

Okay, I think that will do.  Hope this was useful and you got some helpful writing tips.  Or at least a little fun for your day!

Happy Halloween, Everyone!

Halloween 2015

Bi-Monthly Goal Recap & New Goals Set — Derek Barton

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July & August Bi-Monthly Goals 

In early July, I detailed how I came across an idea of Bi-Monthly Goal Setting by YouTube blogger, Kristen Martin

Overall, my goals were ambitious and probably a bit unrealistic.  However, I did accomplish the biggest goals in my opinion and I am very proud of that.  I will be a bit more strategic with the new goals and I want to have more balanced goals for the next two months.  When you work a full-time day job and have limited time and energy at night, you have to decide on priorities.  Technically, I was not successful in meeting 80% with getting only 7 of the 15 goals, but that is okay as it teaches me even more about myself and lessons on better goal-making.

RECAP: 

  1. Finalize my Chapter Outlines for The Bleeding Crown
  2. Complete the First Rough Draft of Bleeding Crown
  3. Complete 52,000 words written (52 days * 1000 words)

So the good news is that I did finalize my outline and I was able to finish the first draft of Bleeding Crown on August 26th.  I started it back on March 26th which means it only took me five months which is a huge step forward compared to previous efforts.  

The bad news is that the draft monopolized all of my writing time.   It was a lot harder than I thought it would be getting through the end of the book.  Pretty much all else had to be set aside while I tried to finish.  

What happened was that I had some big, lofty ideas for my characters and I was not sure how to get them to that point.  My original outline had been completed with too many broad strokes and I had to really take a lot of time to work up my plans for the events.  Even once the plan has been determined, writing the scene was not always as cut and dry either.  Anyway, I ended up with over 43,000 words for the two months (which is over 80% of my goal of 52,000).

  1. Outline first two books of Elude Series
  2. Write out three more Elude Sections

As stated above, almost everything had to be pushed onto the back burner in order to get The Bleeding Crown rough draft completed.  I did get two sections of Elude posted to the website (total of 4).  I will be “progressing” the goal of working up Elude’s outlines onto my agenda for the next two months.  I am excited by the potential of this book series and will be working up the backstories and characters so that I can use this series for the NaNoWriMo Challenge. 

For those who are not aware of the Challenge, it is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) in November.  Writers all over the country and around the globe take the entire month of November to write up a story of novel-length size (50,000 words).  I have never done this before, but have wanted to try it in years past.  This year I WILL TAKE THE CHALLENGE!

 

  1. Compile and create an Ebook on the Writing Craft from my past blogs:

I did put this together and even got an exclusive offer by a new editing company.  They will work on the manuscript for free and give me their recommendations.  I wanted to see what they can do.  The Ebook is only 11,000+ words, yet I feel it will be a fun and worthwhile read.  I hope to have it out on Amazon and Kindle by the end of the year.  Current working title is Rookie:  Pitfalls of Year One.  It is a guide on self-publishing and writing craft techniques.

 

  1. Design bookmarks for my books

I failed to even attempt this as I had limited time to get through a hefty writing goal. 

 

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

This did not pan out as well as my artist had too many other obligations at this time.  It is something I still plan on doing, but I will have to research and find alternatives. 

 

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

The giveaways were successful and very rewarding (I received an email from the grand winner of the Giveaway I had created.  She had been restricted to bed by serious health conditions and this was great timing for her to get all the books).  They also helped with my email list and brought traffic to my author website.  I plan on participating or sponsoring future giveaways, so keep an eye out for news!

 

  1. Complete one Newsletter a month:

Both newsletters were sent out without issues. 

 

  1. Read one writing craft book a month:

Fail!  Ugh.  No time to read.  I did listen to books with Audible, but these were strictly as entertainment.   

 

  1. Prepare for book convention in Tucson:
  2. Get booth banners:

While I would like to attend, finances right now will not allow for comic-con participation.   I am thinking that with the possible sales from the non-fic book and/or Audible version of Consequences Within Chaos, I will have a bit more opportunity to do the conventions and book festivals next year.

  1. Strive to walk 3 miles a night, workout set at least once a day:

I fell off the diet wagon these last few weeks.  So, I cannot give myself a pass on this goal, but now that the rough draft is not so pressing, I hope to re-establish my routine and even add weight lifting into the regimen.

  1. Create a book trailer video:

This was postponed.  I am not sure that I am going to do one, so, for now, this will be taken off the goal list altogether.  Making and compiling a video would take away a lot of my writing time.

 

September & October Bi-Monthly Goals

  1. Outline first two books of Elude Series.
  2. Develop the list of Elude characters and develop their background.
  3. Create a NaNoWriMo Prep Folder in Scrivener and complete the list of development items.
  4. Write 1,000 words per day – blogging, outlining, writing (61,000k).
  5. On October 1st, start editing phase for The Bleeding Crown.
  6. Design book cover for Rookie: Pitfalls of Year One.
  7. Write new book blurbs for all my works and revamp all of the Amazon ads.
  8. Complete a newsletter for each month.
  9. Find a part-time post or two – extra income to help with new bills and investment in writing projects/marketing.
  10. Lose at least 15 pounds in the next two months through refined calorie counting/nightly walking/weight lifting.
  11. Read a writers craft book, listen to podcasts and youtube blogs weekly on marketing/writing.
  12. Start a new series of blog posts.
  13. Research and find alternative artists for projects (i.e. poker cards portraits, calendar and bio cards).

This goal set seems a little more in line with what I have time to do and will not spread me out on too many other projects at once.  I guess time will tell!  

 

 

ONE YEAR BLOG-ANNIVERSARY!! — Derek Barton

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The picture is to pay homage to one of the books that most inspired me to be a horror/epic fantasy writer:  The Shining by Stephen King!

 

Jack and friends have come out to celebrate with me on MY ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY writing my blog!!

 

I am super thrilled to celebrate and mark this occasion.  It certainly doesn’t feel like I have been doing this blog for a whole year!  What an incredible journey it has been — in a good way filled with a lot of personal growth and accomplishments that I didn’t think were possible.

Just a few stats that I would like to point out.  Since July 17th, 2016:

  • Visitors to the site:  659
  • Views on the different pages:  1603
  • Visitor countries:  19 different nations (including Japan, Thailand, Australia, Indonesia, Czech Republic, United Kingdom, Romania and someplace called Guernsey!)
  • Blogs posted:  37 (this will be 38th!)
  • Stats for July 2016:  79 visitors, 219 views
  • Stats for July 2017:  184 visitors, 244 views (and the month hasn’t finished!)

 

Been an unbelievable year and I am ecstatic to see what the next year will bring! Thank you for being with me this year and enjoying the ride with me.  You are all my favorite passengers! ha!

 

Now back to work….

ALL WORK AND NO PLAY MAKE JACK A DULL BOY

ALL WORK AND NO PLAY MAKE JACK A DULL BOY

ALL WORK AND NO PLAY MAKE JACK A DULL BOY ALL WORK AND NO PLAY MAKE JACK A DULL BOY

ALL WORK AND NO PLAY MAKE JACK A DULL BOY

ALL WORK AND NO PLAY MAKE JACK A DULL BOY

ALL WORK AND NO PLAY MAKE JACK A DULL BOY ALL WORK AND NO PLAY MAKE JACK A DULL BOY

ALL

WORK

DULL BOY