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!  

 

 

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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

 

 

 

 

2017 Bi-Monthly Goals for July & August — Derek Barton

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July & August Bi-Monthly Goals

Recently, I came across an interesting video blog on Youtube from fantasy novelist, Kristen Martin. She outlined her “bi-monthly” goals for the months of January & February. I liked the process a lot and I could see how it would be a great motivator for me.

The main aim is to break down your “bigger picture” goals into easier, more obtainable goals. These can be both professional as well as personal. The other part to the process is to publicize them as this gives you a sense of accountability. If I can accomplish at least 12 of the 15 goals then that is 80% which is a “winning” and successful score!

I will be revamping these again in September. I will give you a rundown of how I did and then a new or revised list.

Here are my goals for the next two months:

1. Finalize my Chapter Outlines for The Bleeding Crown: I am a big time “plotter” as they say in the industry. I write faster and have better quality of work if I know where I am going in each chapter.   You can think of it like a road map.  Some authors write by the seat of their pants (“pantsers”), but when I did this, I found I would always get lost. Then I would lose enthusiasm for the story and not finish. For this story, I know exactly where I am heading and how I want it to end. The difficulty is to determine all the little steps along the way on that road getting to the finale!

2. Complete the First Rough Draft of Bleeding Crown: I have been putting a lot of effort into writing the first draft and have three quarters of the story down. Unfortunately, I am quickly coming up to the end of what I had written for the outline. Thus, goal #1 and goal #2 go hand in hand. If I don’t do #1, I won’t get near #2. Sighhhhhh

3. Complete 52,000 words written (52 days * 1000 words):  This ties into the other goals, but even if I finish The Bleeding Crown, I have my Elude series.  I want to accomplish this so I have even more on my site and Amazon for my readers to dig into.  A 1,000 a day is actually not that hard for a lot of writers (Stephen King does over 3,000 every day), but that IS his only career… HA!  Once I can comfortably do this on a daily basis, I will be increasing it.

4. Outline first two books of Elude Series:  A lofty goal for me, but without the stretch goals I won’t know for sure what I can actually accomplish or not, right? I am enjoying this genre as much as I enjoy my fantasy work (both have my biggest love – horror).  I was inspired to write the Elude story after reading Stephen King’s novel Mr. Mercedes which is a great “grim detective” series (he also added a lot of horror elements to this genre story too!).  The novels are all going to be relatively short (under a 100 pages each) as I want them to be an on-going series and I want to build that anticipation element to it.  Plus right now “short is in” on Amazon and writers are finding success with this approach.

5. Write out three more Elude Sections: I am including the first five sections of the first book for Elude on my blog. Would love to hear your thoughts, suggestions or if any of you have questions about the story. Another appeal to this work is that it takes place in my city Phoenix! I moved here when I was 26 and fell instantly in love with it. Now I can take you, my readers, on a whirlwind tour through Vicente’s eyes!

6. Compile and create an Ebook on the Writing Craft from my past blogs: I have kind of already done a part of this. I put my self-publishing and writing blogs together, but have not edited or refined them in any way. The idea is to put them in a non-fiction ebook. It will be my take on the writing craft and what has worked well for me and what has not gone according to plan.

7. Design bookmarks for my books: I do have a couple of bookmarks already that I can sell when I get back into the comic-con game. But I want more and will be coming up with some new ideas from the books. I want to sell these also from my site.

8. Get the character portraits from artist by August and start getting Poker Card and Calendars made: This is another lofty goal as there are a lot of characters from Consequences. Plus, he’s also got a busy schedule and life! This is my goal, but it does require some successful production from him as well.

9. Complete two Giveaways (one on Kindle Review and my own Indie Book Giveaway): I have signed on for another book giveaway on the site Kindle Review. It’s called A Midsummer’s Dream. A cool production that I am happy to be a part of. The other giveaway, of course, is my own, The Indie Fantasy Book Giveaway, which I have been heavily marketing. It has been slow growing, but I am seeing some success with it. This will also help me out on building up my email mailing list. I do love the website traffic I am seeing from the giveaways. This month has already broken my all-time records for most visitors in a month!

10. Complete one Newsletter a month: July’s was already sent out last week and I should have another one out in the first week of August.

11. Read one writing craft book a month: Reading about my writing to me is incredibly essential. It has raised the level of my writing in a short time. It has helped me learn what the current trends are and given me the tools to produce a more polished product than when I started writing again back in 2010.

12. Prepare for book convention in Tucson: I would like to go this convention, but not sure how financially set we will be for me to do so. We have had some setbacks lately and it has stalled my participation in the comic-cons or book shows. Not only do you have to pay to take part and reserve a table, but you also have to pay for the inventory to sell. There is also expenses for travel and any hotel accommodations to consider if you are not doing it locally.

13. Get booth banners: Again this is an investment I would like to make, IF I can get back into the comic-con circuit by the end of the year. I may have to stall on this one and let it go on future month goals coming up.

14. Strive to walk 3 miles a night, workout set at least once a day: The heat in Phoenix this year has been devastating. Last year we did have one or two days over 120 degrees. This year it has been over 120 degrees off and on for a week and a half. The days it hasn’t reached 120+ has still been very oppressive. When I try to walk at night, I have gotten severe headaches. This heatwave won’t last forever, but it sure does feel like it. I moved to get summer year round (lived in the Icy Hell of Indiana for 26 years) – I don’t regret the move, just cannot wait for our normal weather to come back. This fitness goal is to help me with my bigger goal of losing weight. I want to lose 40 by the end of the year!

15. Create a book trailer video: Another high bar goal, but I have been toying with the idea. I have a lot on my plate and with my day job, it doesn’t give me a lot of “free time” to experiment and toy with the technology out there. It may happen, especially since I now see it is not that hard or even expensive to do. The time to research and find all the images is the obstacle.

This is a lot of minor goals, but if I can accomplish this in two short months, then my overall success for the entire year will be very fulfilling indeed. I realize that there is a good chance that most of these will not get completed, but it still helps having them written out so that I see my targets and the road ahead that I need to take.

2017 INDIE FANTASY BOOK GIVEAWAY!!! — Derek Barton

Contest Ad 2017

Starting Saturday, JULY 1ST, you can enter into my INDIE FANTASY BOOK GIVEAWAY which will have 6 WINNERS!!

Top Winner will receive $100 Amazon Gift Card, 8 EBOOKS (2 Best Selling Fantasy Ebooks and an Ebook copy from each of the 6 above-listed authors.)

Runner up will get a $25 Amazon Gift Card and 1 Best Seller and an Ebook copy from the 6 above-listed authors.)

Four other winners receive Ebook Copies from the above-listed authors!!

CLICK HERE TO ENTER:  FREE BOOK GIVEAWAY ENTRY

All you need for the contest entry is to subscribe with an email address to these authors’ mailing list.

AUTHORS & BOOKS:

KM WEILAND — Dreamlander

DEREK BARTON — Consequences Within Chaos

SUSANNE LAMBDIN — Seeker of Magic

NESA MILLER — Alamir

NATALIE WRIGHT — H.A.L.F:  The Deep Beneath

LS O’DEA — Lake of Sins: Escape

(Click on their name to see their Amazon Profiles and Book Collections!)

Best Sellers:

EMILY R. KING — The Hundredth Queen

JOHNATHAN RENSHAW — Dawn of Wonder

Get extra giveaway entries when you Commenting on Facebook, Sharing this Ad on Facebook and Commenting on Twitter about the Giveaway!!!

PLUS IF YOU REFER YOUR FRIENDS, YOU GET UP TO 10 EXTRA ENTRIES INTO THE RAFFLE!

Drawings will be on Saturday, July 22nd.

D O  N O T  M I S S  O U T !!

 

Upcoming Projects — Derek Barton

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I have gotten some inquiries on the progress I have had on certain projects (especially concerning my sequel, The Bleeding Crown) so I thought I would send out a quick update.

 

THE BLEEDING CROWN — At this time, I am almost a quarter to half way through the first draft.  I spent a lot of time organizing, structuring the story line and developing the characters along with their backstories.  My projected goal is to finish the draft around September or October.

On a side note, I have been kicking around the possibility of a third novel in Wyvernshield, making this a trilogy.  I have some interesting paths I could go down, but I have not fully decided one way or another.  And since I am not done with the second novel’s first draft, it is too early to start plotting out the third.  One thing that is definitely making me hesitate is that I want the series to have a complete whole overall story and not two complete stories and one disjointed story thrown in the mix.  If that makes any sense.

CONSEQUENCES WITHIN CHAOS AUDIO BOOK — A sad development here.  My voice actress had too much on her plate at this time and just could not dedicate the necessary time to get this done within the time frame I was looking for.  So… I have submitted a proposal on Audible.com and I am waiting on audition proposals.  My goal was for the end of July, but with this delay I am not sure it will happen that soon.  Audible states that once an actor has been chosen, it could be done in 3 to 8 weeks give or take the size of the novel.  My book is estimated to be 11 hours recording.  Keep your fingers crossed with me!

CONSEQUENCES WITHIN CHAOS COLLECTIBLES — I cannot yet go into too much detail on this, but I have made some inquiries, connections and working relations with several sources in an effort to create some character collectible items.  A calendar set, magnetic bio cards, foil posters and a designer deck of poker cards may be on the horizon!

GOODREAD GIVEAWAY AND A GREAT INDIE BOOK CONTEST — I have been promoting the Goodreads Giveaway a lot, but I am also working out a big contest with at least one other independent author.  More to come by July, but I am getting pretty excited about what we can offer and what I have in store for you guys!

A NEW HORROR BLOG SERIES — I am working on a new story line and series for you, my horror lovers!  Inspiration struck and it won’t stop haunting me.  And since I need blog ideas, I have decided to work this out through the blog like I did with In Four Days.

Plus I am still working on the horror novel with my father T.D. Barton; be on the lookout for sneak peek chapters of that as well.

IN FOUR DAYS AUDIO BOOK — In current talks with another voice actor for my novella.

As you can see, I am truly working hard this year! hahaha

Last note, as July is approaching I am astounded and thrilled to realize that this blog and website will be celebrating its ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY!!!  Thank you all for your continued support and helping me grow this dream each day!

Lots of things in the works and more to come — exciting times!

Talk again soon!

The Wilds of Aberrisc… — Derek Barton

Aberrisc Map 2017

As promised in my blog A New Land to Behold…, here is my first draft of the Map to the Wilds of Aberrisc.
I am not completely happy with it so it may not find its way into the book like this, but perhaps another version will.   Yet, I do feel that a map was overdue.  And I have to admit they are fun to build!
“You were rumored to have been imprisoned by the Eulocths a while ago. Was this true?” Taihven was confused until an image of the Green Ones flashed in her mind.
“Oh, yes! Vicious, little lizard-like creatures.” He blurted out, but immediately he felt anxious and did not like the possible outcomes of this topic.
“Well, you see our race has had constant conflicts with the Eulocths. Ever since we got knotted in Yamtolak.”
“Knotted? What do you mean?” he asked.
“Yes, knotted. How do I explain…” she gathered her words. “Where you come from, do your lands not knot? When the lands collide, but connect versus pushing away from one another?”
The look of confusion on his face answered for him. “Our lands do not move. They are locked into position.”
“Ah!  You see, all the continents here float upon a massive ocean and they move along with the subterranean currents. Occasionally, the lands collide, but bounce off from each other. The knots are when the lands strike and lock into each other or part of the land tears free and remain with one land or another. Such is what happened with our Sacred Groves of Ara Turas. We have been knotted and trapped here on Yamtolak when it knotted with our homeland.”
In Consequences Within Chaos, the characters were in various locations, but a map was not as necessary to follow the story line. In the Bleeding Crown (the sequel to Consequences Within Chaos), I feel it will be very beneficial to see where the characters are and where the action is taking place in relation to one another.
Here is also a little write-up on each continent:

Wilds of Aberrisc

Ara Turas – Homeland of the Duradramyn; their lands exist of grassy plains and rolling tundra.  Duradramyn are a simplistic, tribal people that rely heavily on ritual or spiritual magic.  While renown for their agriculture, they are also dedicated to existing with nature, living among animals and preserving the environment.

Aviytoss – Homeland of the Flohki; sprawling wetlands and dwarf tree swamps. Flohki are half-bird humanoids that tend to be xenophobic and very territorial.  Their technology, militant personalities and scientific knowledge has fostered them several large cities and coastal fishing industries.

Bre’Avat — Vast jungles and volcanic mountain ranges.  The continent does not have a known race or humanoid culture, but is home to original species of Mammoth Bats, Khortha Lizards and Reaxes which are massive beetles that live within lava pits.  Abandoned ruins of an intelligent race have been found there, but no survivors or descendants are known.

Cordavail – Homeland of a small human kingdom.  They are very isolated in a ring of high mountains and rarely reach out to neighboring lands.

Dorminahz – Homeland to the Thettes and Brohmn Giant races.  These two clans are very war-like and have often battled in bloody and costly civil wars.  They live barbarian lifestyles, but the Thettes are nomadic and follow after migratory animal herds.  The Brohmn claim permanent residences and dig out immense structures in mountain sides and subterranean caverns.

Ele Tessis – Territory to the shadow race of Bal’Avals.  These mystical creatures tend to have sadistic desires and evil tendencies.  Little contact has been made with them; they protect their lands violently and will not suffer any trespassing.

Fhey Rhas – Homeland of the Yuul; their home is a ring of seven islands.  The Yuul are a feline/human race that dedicate their lives to the study of magic.  Political sciences and government organization are also key concerns to their culture.

Huuscia – Endless miles of desert wasteland; suspected to be unpopulated, but few explorers have ever returned from their expeditions.

Mescarne – A heat-blasted, barren plain; at its center is the legendary Quartz Tower.  The Tower is believed to be the key focal point for the magical energies and ley lines to the entire world of Aberrisc.  Few have found it and been able to return to describe the structure.  Some propose it is of ancient origin by a long-forgotten race.  No one has ever been able to describe the interior.

Peht Glacier Flats – Ice wasteland; unpopulated by humanoid creatures due to its weather and unstable lands and climate.

Rya – Desert dune lands cover most of this continent.  However, there are also long stretches of glass fields that mar this sand expanse.  Ancient tales and folklore describe the region as a homeland to a once noble and powerful race, but they unleashed a doomsday cataclysm which formed the glass fields and ever growing dunes.  No evidence of such a race has been discovered to date.

Utakraas – Homeland of the Balshazras; these lands are made up of sprawling swamp areas, deep lakes and enormous rivers.  Balshazras are reptilian, but have a high intellect that matches their natural gifts with arcane and elemental magic.  The unique creatures can continuously reincarnate and thus are seemingly immortal.

Yamtolak – Homeland of the Eulocths.  These vile lizard humanoids have very base, selfish desires and often make raids upon other lands for food, treasures or to take slaves.  They exist in linked clan villages that all answer to their tyrant king.  Their biggest strength and weapon is in their sheer numbers.  With a mob-mentality, the Eulocths do not fear anything or anyone.

I hope to create another world map of Wyvernshield soon for the next blog.  Please let me know what you thought and if you have any suggestions.

Steps Taken Upon A New “Path”…

Wolf Eyes #1In the mid 80s, my father, Ted Barton wrote an original new take on the classic werewolf story.  It was called The Path.   He ran through the typical gauntlet of publisher inquiries and got the typical rejections.   Just like today, literary agents and publishers are looking primarily for already established writers — this cuts down on their marketing costs and the gambling risks of taking on new talent.

Unfortunately, the age of self-publication had not taken shape yet.  So The Path has remained locked away in a box ever since, gathering dust.

But now…  

My father and I are teaming up, revamping the work and will be publishing it by the end of the year!  (Insert trumpet blaring and confetti parades here!)

We will be amending the title, but for now here is the first sampling of our book.  Hope you enjoy it!



 

CHAPTER ONE – DZHANKAH:

 

The Prey was running!

Dzhankah liked it when they ran because it was… entertaining. He had no sense of humor, but it did appeal to his sense of cruelty. It was as close to playing a game as a creature devoid of normal human disposition could approach. Watching his prey stumble clumsily before him, squeaking and mewling in terror gave him immense pleasure.

Sometimes upon first sight of him the timid animals would lock up. Their eyes would roll up white in their sockets and their bladders would let go, leaving dark puddles in the powdery earth at their feet. He would make a big show of his attack, snarling viciously and frothing at the mouth as he reared up and advanced upon them. If he were in a benevolent mood, he would end it quickly by severing their head or ripping out a vital organ.  This was not as enjoyable as playing it out, nip by slash, until life ebbed from the quivering remains.

Best of all was when his victims ran.

And this one ran well – almost fast enough to get away.

But not quite…

When Dzhankah first revealed himself, the Meat froze and stared with little apparent fear. This one was either too stupid or too drunk to believe his eyes. Or perhaps he’d seen things before – events or atrocities that had hardened him to the world. After all, the few kills of these two-legged Meats that Dzhankah had experienced had all been of the local, domestic variety.

This, however, was a wild one.

Dzhankah guessed this as evidenced by the Prey’s appearance and from the fact that he had camped in the clearing next to the field rather than in one of their smelly, wooden caves.

If only I had been on the Hunt last night, I would have slept with a full belly.

This Prey still would be easy to kill, but deserved a little more respect. Dzhankah would chase him down and dispatch him immediately.

When the Meat bolted at last, he fled quickly and with purpose. He didn’t look back, kept his head down and concentrated every effort into making his legs carry him as fast as possible toward the clearing where he had camped.

Dzhankah was curious. What did the Meat expect to profit by gaining the clearing? Could he want more room to defend himself? Perhaps he has hidden some sort of weapon back at his campsite?

Never before had one tried to defend himself!  Dzhankah found the prospect enticing and brought a surge of excitement to his heart.

The Beast then decided to leap over a few rows and sprint ahead to check out the clearing. There he would either wait for the Meat to come blundering into him or he would come back to the chase within the corn.

Bursting into the clearing, he cast his eyes over the campsite, searching for anything that might be used against him. He thrust his muzzle to the ground, sniffing everything in sight – the bed of embers in the campfire, the bundle of rags the Meat carried with him, the nest of cornstalks piled near the base of the tree…

The tree!

The wild one wasn’t running for a weapon, but fleeing towards the only possible avenue of escape.

Clever, clever! He thought to himself, slightly disappointed over the missed opportunity for a fight.

Oh yes, the Meat has been around all right. Had seen things… and somehow knows I can’t climb trees!

On cue, his quarry exploded from the cornfield and without breaking stride, leaped over Dzhankah’s head and grasped a low-hanging branch. With a grunt, the Prey began pulling himself up into the tree, his legs pinwheeling in the air.

Before he swung his upper torso into the crotch of a branch, Dzhankah lunged and clamped his teeth down hard upon his left foot. A shriek of agony sliced through the air as the ankle bones crunched into a bloody pulp within his powerful jaws.

The Meat kicked and stomped frantically at his tormentor’s face, but Dzhankah, ignored the blows, closed his eyes… and slowly pulled.



More of the novel will be forthcoming.  Please let us know what you think so far. Reviews, suggestions or comments are always welcome!

 

 

 

Taking Advantage of Obstacles… — Derek Barton

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It is not in the still calm of life, or the repose of a pacific station, that great characters are formed. The habits of a vigorous mind are formed in contending with difficulties. -Abigail Adams

 

Last week my home computer crashed and died an ugly death.

I didn’t hold a funeral or even a memorial.  I buried it away quickly in a cabinet like a guilty secret and tried to not to obsess over it.

Why?  Because this is a serious financial setback – I just don’t have the means to replace it easily.  I am even writing this blog at work on break (shhhhh don’t tell! LOL)

I have had the computer since 2009 and I knew the day was coming that I would have to replace it, but… I had a fantasy hope that it would last yet another year or more.  That little voice in my head kept saying, “Let me just get my sequel done and then maybe I could afford a new one!”

The rub of it all is that I was gaining serious momentum on my book.  I had written four and a half chapters so far with a goal that by October the first draft would be complete.   Now, everything has been locked away in my Scrivener program, imprisoned unjustly within the hard drive.   Yes, some of the outline has been saved to my Google Drive folders, but I was very lax in updating my work to the Cloud.  Lesson learned.

My father did point out that “there was this somewhat known writer guy called Shakespeare who didn’t own any computers and he managed to get quite a bit produced…”   SIGHHHHHHH  Thanks, Dad!

Anyway, I realized that there was just no way around this for now and I decided to focus on my audio script work.  I am adapting Consequences Within Chaos into an audio book to be sold on Audible.com.  While my heart is still longing to write The Bleeding Crown, I am having an interesting experience with developing the audio version for Consequences.

In the past, I always made the quick assumptions that the audio book process was complex, expensive and not really well accepted by the readers.  This has proven to be quite the opposite!

The steps are pretty simple:

  1. Write out your book as if it were a script.
  2. Find a voice actor or read and record your own voice.
  3. Post it and sell it through Audible and/or other audio book sites!

So writing the book into a script format is time-consuming but can be a rewarding experience in itself.  I am sure there are more formal processes for the work, but I just did highlights and notes throughout the manuscript for the voice actor.  You have to be sure exactly how you want names to be read, how you want voices to sound, how much pausing or dramatic emphasis on passages you want and you have to guide the voice actor on scene or dialog pacing.

The part where one has to find a voice actor and afford the actor’s services sounded pretty overwhelming at first.  However there again, the process is well-designed for amateurs like me.  You can actually find voice actors on your own as I happened to (I met a few at the Galaxyfest Comic-con I attended in February) or you can post/advertise you are looking for one online or you can hire through several sites (like Fiverr.com).

Once you have a voice actor, payment for that actor can be done two ways:  a one-time payment for said services agreed upon by both parties OR a split of the royalties received for the audio book (the contract will be for as long as the book is selling on the site).

Once the recordings are completed (and if you decide to record your own reading of the book, you can gain a lot of good tips from www.youtube.com videos on how to make the recordings and what settings you need), you will need to download them onto http://www.acx.com/ if you plan on selling through Audible.com.  This site is very similar to what https://www.createspace.com/ is for Amazon.

Also here are some more factors to keep in mind for the recordings (obtained from acx’s guides):

ACX Audio Submission Requirements

Create top-quality audiobooks, and maximize your sales potential by providing the best overall listening experience.

Audiobooks uploaded to ACX must adhere to the following requirements. The ACX Quality Assurance team may reject titles that do not meet these standards, and their retail release may be delayed. The following requirements help ensure customers get a great listen.

Your submitted audiobook must:

Each uploaded audio file must:

More information on how to meet these requirements can be found below and in our Video Lessons & Resources, and many of the terms used here can be found in our Audio Terminology Glossary.

There is a lot of extra details they have on the site to further break it down and easy to complete.

And lastly, here is a sample of the research I found on the internet about marketing audio books and how audio books are having an impact on the market:

Data from the Association of American Publishers (APP) released this week showed U.S. book sales from January to October last year grew 0.5 percent, although overall revenue for publishers during the period was down 2.8 percent at $13.2 billion.
However, one area that is experiencing strong growth is audio books. The APP said audio book downloads increased by 38.1 percent in 2015 and services such as Audible, where users pay a monthly subscription to access a library of audio books, are growing.
“Audible membership growth is consistent at 40 per cent year on year, as more consumers realise how well audiobooks can fit into their busy lives,” explained Tracey Markham, country manager for Audible, to CNBC via email. “Audible members globally listened to 1.6 billion hours of audio content in 2015 (up from 1.2 billion in 2014).”  — CNBC.com

 

While the week did start out like a blind, three-legged horse at the race track, I did find a way to make it productive in spite of the broken down computer.  And I hope that this also opens your eyes to the possibility of audio books of your own and how really easy this process can be.

With any luck (I used up all my bad luck already right?) this will become a successful new venture in audio for me!!

A New Land to Behold… — Derek Barton

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Recently I have been toying with the idea of making maps for my fantasy worlds detailed in Consequences Within Chaos, the prequel Seyde in Blood and my upcoming sequel The Bleeding Crown. 

There are a lot of debate on whether maps are a hindrance or a benefit to your story.  I think that like any other writing tool or technique that a writer can use, it should be considered carefully for each story, thought out thoroughly and done on a case by case basis.  Not every story will warrant a map.

The first important question to consider is:  will it add to the story for the reader?   Do you think that there may be too many names floating about in your prose or do you feel that the layout of your places are pretty straightforward for the reader to follow?  When I read George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire, I had to often look at the maps to keep the story straight in my head.  For that matter, he had so many characters going all over the place and working with so many different characters, I even made an Excel Spreadsheet to keep the names straight!  But Mr. Martin has such a great talent and incredible story that I forgave him as a reader and put in the extra effort.

Another question:  Do you feel that the map is going to help you as the writer?  Will it guide you in keeping all the facts straight and keeping an accurate idea of where each character might be?  Or will a map also give you inspiration or show you where you have room to grow?

When you do decide, you will also face the dilemma of where are you going to get it?  Are you going to draw it yourself and if so, do you have the right amount of cartography skill?  If you are not taking up the challenge to create it, then what resources do you have to get one?  There are a ton of “free map images” out on the net, but then you may have to make concessions or even possibly alterations to your story.  Perhaps you might be wise to invest on getting it professional completed.  There are also many websites that will provide map-making services or websites like Cartographers Guild that has a forum for questions and/or advice.

Overall, the questions surrounding the “to map or not to map” debate really comes down to time, resources and whether or not it will benefit you as a writer and/or the readers.

For myself, I have started my sequel and I think it will be a positive addition for the readers to see where the lands are and maybe help give the readers a better perspective of all the key lands that are involved in the story.  My plan is to make a map of both worlds detailed in the books.  And yes, I do plan on designing the maps myself.  I designed several in my old Dungeon & Dragon days and found that it really provoked ideas and plots (usually evil plots to mess with the players!! haha)

I will keep you all in the loop and hopefully share my maps soon!!

Lessons From Galaxyfest… — Derek Barton

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This weekend was an amazing experience and a great opportunity to meet several established writers and comic-con artists.

As always, I want to share with you the lessons I learned so that maybe if you are interested in becoming a self-published writer, you can benefit from my experiences.

While the con did not get the anticipated crowds all of us hoped for (approximately 3,000 versus the 10,000 people), there were a lot of exhibits and vendors that I could learn a lot from.

I had the immense honor to meet and speak to these writers:

From these guys I learned a lot of information about Audible, about booth displays, about other conventions/bookfestivals, about book covers and book interior layouts.  I got new ideas for marketing, book themes and even items to go with the books to draw people to the booth.

By the next convention I hope to have a new book banners, new materials like character bios and character magnets, a new variety of bookmarks based on the books and even (insert drumroll here…) a new book direction – I am going to develop a Steampunk Novel (or novella)!  I will still work on my Consequences Within Chaos novel sequel, however, I will be also donating time on a Steampunk storyline.  Like I did with In Four Days, be on the lookout for my story blogs!

Why Steampunk?  For one, I like the whole western/victorian theme which of course I will beef up with own horror style.  Second reason is that this will also give my fans another element or genre that they can delve into with me.  And lastly, it is obviously growing in demand and in popularity.  I am intrigued just where this could lead me.

Also I met up with a few voice-over actors that I may be able to help me launch an Audible version of Consequences Within Chaos.  Recently, I signed up with Audible and I really love the service.  I listen to books now as I do my 3-or-4-mile walk each night.  Peter Meredith explained the process to me and really enlightened me on how this could be a big benefit overall to me.  We just might see how right he is!

Another great benefit to comic-cons is the artist booths.  Not only are their works inspiring and thought-provoking, but they could be great resources in the future.  I already have a great artist, Dan Thomas of Dark Art Komics helping me out and showing me the ropes at these comic-cons, but I also met Jacob Spill (https://www.facebook.com/jspill) and several other artists that could help me with illustrations or covers in the future.

Financially I took a gamble, threw the dice and unfortunately hit a wall with Galaxyfest, but I did get a lot out of it in terms of marketing knowledge and trade information.  I will certainly do more conventions — JUST DO IT BETTER!

Here are a few more pictures of the fun characters and fans you do run into at these things!