Great New Development!

Dark Art Komics Logo

Incredible news, everyone!

Daniel Thomas, owner and artist of Dark Art Komics, will be providing the original cover artwork for my upcoming novel, Consequences Within Chaos!!

Now I have known Dan for a long time and recently had a chance to stop by his artist alley table during Phoenix Comicon, 2016.  In addition to his cool artwork, Dan was also able to have the zero issue of his first indie comic book he co-created and illustrated as a Phoenix Comicon 2016 exclusive.  He was even a panelist on a panel about indie comic books. While at his booth he gave me some very valuable advice about self-publishing, breaking into the convention scene and even offered to do the artwork for my novel.

I accepted his generous offer to be an affiliate of Dark Art Komics. Among networking and other great opportunities, this will enable me to see all of you in person at this year’s  Phoenix Fan Fest on the weekend of 10/22/2016-10/23/2016 at the Phoenix Convention Center in Phoenix, AZ (booth number to be posted as soon as it is assigned) to market my novel.  And we hope to have some fantastic exclusives in store for anyone visiting our table!

If you haven’t seen any of Dan’s artwork, I will post below and you will see just how lucky I am!



You can stay up to date by following me on Twitter, my blog — Take The Next Page and Dark Art Komics at


Dark Art Komics will be at the following events/conventions in the AZ/NM/TX area 

Las Cruces Gamecon: Ramada Palms- 201 E University (Las Cruces, NM)
08/19/16 – 08/20/16

Las Cruces Comicon 2016: Las Cruces Convention Center (Las Cruces, NM)
Artist Alley Tables: E49 & E50

Phoenix Fan Fest 2016: Phoenix Convention Center (Phoenix, AZ)
10/22/16 & 10/23/16

Alamo City Con: Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center (San Antonio, TX)

SEMA: Las Vegas Convention Center (Las Vegas, NM)

Ft Bliss Comic Con: Ft Bliss at the Old PX (El Paso, TX)

Have any of you been to the Phoenix Fan Fest or the Phoenix Comicon?  What was your experience?  What is the one thing you really liked or the one thing you really disliked about it?  Leave me a comment or tell me your story!






When the Well Runs Dry… — Derek Barton


One of the most common things people ask a writer is where do you get your ideas?  How did you think of this… or what happened to you to make you come up with this…?  Can you imagine the wild speculations or claims that people must ask Stephen King about?

For me, it has always been an easy answer:  I am just wired to ask “What If” and “Why” especially when I listen to music. My head fills with images and instantly creates a background story.  Some writers are inspired by people they meet or places they have been to, I am inspired by what I hear in songs.

As an example, an essential part of my exercise routine is to slip on my wireless headphones and start my laps (walking around a local park’s pond at night).  I do this for several reasons.

One, I always get energy and drive from my music — not just because I listen to heavy metal, dubstep and techno either.  I let the beat and pace of the song guide my output.  I will walk faster, run harder or do that elusive “one more rep” with the weights (when at the gym).  It’s my “invisible personal trainer” you might say.

Two, the music helps distract me from the monotony of working out which I think is the normal reason most people wear headphones.

But the third reason I have to have music is that when I am into a song my mind naturally delves into a story.  What is the inspiration for this song, my brain wonders.  Was the singer wronged by someone and thus this song?   What would make someone feel this way?

Then if I am working on a particular story or maybe looking for a new one, I try to find some inspiration behind the lyrics.  What would my story hero do if this happened to him?  It helps me explore different paths that I hadn’t thought to go down and helps me think of new angles for the characters in my stories.

A long time ago I read that Quentin Tarantino had a massive vinyl record collection and that when he works on his stories, he plays his albums looking for inspiration. Recently in an article:

There’s nothing immediately iconic about either the songs or the images they respectively soundtrack, but, in Tarantino’s own words, picking the right song for the right scene…

“is about as cinematic a thing as you can do. It works in this visceral, emotional, cinematic way that’s special. And when you do it right and you hit it right, then you can never really hear that song again without thinking about that image from the movie…”

Here is the whole article:  Quentin Tarantino and the Art of the Badass Soundtrack

Music by its very nature is interpretive and thus a treasure trove of ideas.  I have actually created characters from songs too.  For instance, the band called Stone Sour has a song I love called Made of Scars.  It fit perfectly with an upcoming story character I have who is an ostracized warrior and deemed “unnecessary”.  His society has thrown him to the side during a time of peace.  He’s covered in battle scars and he can proudly relay the story behind each of them.  They are not shameful, they are his badges of honor.  While this isn’t the only part to this character, it does add depth to him and gives you some inclination to his reactions and behaviors.

Now not every part of a story will be relatable to a song or a lyric of course, but when you are struggling and looking for some inspiration, try putting on some music, relax and then just open up to the words.  When your well runs dry, ask the “What If”s and the “Why”s and you will find your story behind the images that come to your mind.

Leave me a comment if you have ever found inspiration in a song?  Or tell me what you do for inspiration or to bust through a period of writer’s block?

Day 1771 and Counting… — Derek Barton

Blog #1

By the year 1998, I had already given up the idea of being the next Stephen King; concentrated all my efforts at “getting up the corporate ladder” at a local insurance company. Money is always an easy reason sell out your dreams.

It was in 2011, my good friend and fellow author, Doug Sanburn and I reconnected — we had lost touch after high school.  He told me that he was shocked that I wasn’t a writer and “always figured that out of all of us, you were the one to get published”. That really meant a lot to me and it hit home. Now Doug is an accomplished writer himself (you can find him on Twitter Doug A Sanburn) and has written already a dozen novels.

Why is it that what others are always able to see that is right in front of you, you are completely blind to?  

Now I am not saying that I don’t work hard any longer or that my career isn’t still important to me, but writing is just a part of who I am and I could no longer ignore.

Back on September,10 2011, I made my first baby steps back into the world of writing.

So…it is now Day 1771 (Sunday, January 17, 2016) and I have written my first novel, Consequences Within Chaos. My goal is to get it published by mid-September this year. Currently I am working through my last read-through, formatting the interior and deciding on a book cover.

First tip I can give you concerning self-publishing:  if it is cheap, you WILL get what you pay for.  I paid for a book cover design at bargain pricing and what did I get for my book cover design for my medieval fantasy story?  Three soldiers walking in a field carrying submachine guns!

I created this blog for several reasons:  one, the most obvious reason is to promote and market my name and my upcoming book; two, detail some of the actions I have had to take and some of the trials you will face when you delve into the world of self-publishing; and three, I wanted to also have a forum to relay another battle I have taken up in this same time frame and that is weight loss.

At the end of May this year, I luckily spotted a video link made by one of my Facebook friends.  Scott Arrieta has created a Youtube Channel called Project Reboot.  What the man has done is simply mind-boggling and nothing short of heroic.  He made his weight loss and life extremely public for all to see and judge.  Scott is coming back from 378 pounds and it is thrilling to watch as it unfolds through his often humorous and touching videos.

I have included the link to Project Reboot on my Contact Page but I will do it here again as well:  Project Reboot

I highly recommend anyone and everyone who has had any issues with weight to watch these and feel the enthusiasm and energy for life that Scott brings into your own world!

On My Weight Loss page, I have included my Daily Weight Log and Year To Date Weight Chart.  I cannot take credit for these ideas — I am following one of Scott’s tips.  With his help, I have now lost more than twenty pounds in less than two months.

Now perhaps it is an unusual combination for blogs, writing and weight loss, but who says that there are clear cut rules to all of this?  I wanted to have a place where I could discuss and debate these two subjects with the two possibly different types of people.

I am dedicated to write at least one post a week (possibly more) by Sunday nights.  I hope that this will not only help give you insight into the self-publishing world if you are an amateur or first time novelist like me or you may find motivation or that one spark you needed to start your own journeys toward your goal weight.

Above all I guess I am just offering you an extended hand that you can take and we will walk down this next path together.

I would love to hear what you think of the site!  Please comment below on what you may have experienced yourself with self-publishing.  And feel free to pass on this blog post or the links to Project Reboot!

UPDATE:  I decided to concentrate solely on my efforts into writing and self-publishing after all and have removed the My Weightloss Page from the site.  I still highly recommend Project Reboot and Scott’s great motivational videos — as of today I have lost over 30 pounds myself!  Thanks to all for your continued support.  — 8/18/16