Audible Book Review of Jessica Brody’s “Save The Cat! Writes a Novel: The Last Book On Novel Writing You’ll Ever Need” — Derek Barton – 2020

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Save The Cat!

by Jessica Brody — a Writer’s Resource & Reference Guide

Released on October 9, 2018 — 311 pages

Narrated by Jessica Brody

So, one of my bi-monthly goals in June (as per the post, Looking Back & Looking Forward – Bi-Monthly Goals) was to read a writing craft reference book. This awesome book,Save The Cat! Writes a Novel: The Last Book On Novel Writing You’ll Ever Need is it. A fantastic guide on how to evolve your stories organically, captivate the reader with the pacing and structure, and how to win lifetime readers over with incredible themes and character arcs.

Originally Save the Cat: The Last Book on Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need  written by Blake Snyder was developed as a way to help screenwriters. He found an almost universal pattern in every award-winning film. In his book, he shares his discovery and shows you the master template he crafted based on his findings.

Side note: The title Save the Cat! is a phrase pinpointing a decisive moment when the protagonist demonstrates that they are worth rooting for. Especially needed in cases of an anti-hero like Jaime Lannister in Game of Thrones or Frank Castle of the Marvel Series, The Punisher. “It’s the scene where we [first] meet the hero”, in order to gain audience favor and support for the main character right from the start.

The Synopsis:

The first novel-writing guide from the best-selling Save the Cat! story-structure series, which reveals the 15 essential plot points needed to make any novel a success.

Novelist Jessica Brody presents a comprehensive story-structure guide for novelists that applies the famed Save the Cat! screenwriting methodology to the world of novel writing.

Revealing the 15 “beats” (plot points) that comprise a successful story–from the opening image to the finale–this book lays out the Ten Story Genres (Monster in the House; Whydunit; Dude with a Problem) alongside quirky, original insights (Save the Cat; Shard of Glass) to help novelists craft a plot that will captivate–and a novel that will sell.

The Review:

I found this book very well planned out and down-to-earth. She lays out this master template for you in simple and defined terms, but also how you can still follow the template without “the dreaded F word”… that F word being Formulaic!

Not only does she give multiple examples taken from great novels like Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle to modern classics like The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, Misery by Stephen King, and The DaVinci Code by Dan Brown, she provides in depth analysis to show where theme and story are laced together seamlessly.

There are ten complete novel templates broken down defining each of the original Ten Story Genres (including Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling, Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, and Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill)

Brody takes you through the Opening Image, making it hook your reader and keep them on the edge of their seats, to incorporating meaningful themes, then shaking things up with Debate and Catalyst moments in your stories.

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The Narration:

Jessica Brody narrates her novel and brings a ton of energy and excitement, she WANTS you to hit the ground running!

Jessica Brody is the author of more than 20 books for teens, tweens, and adults including Sky Without Stars, Between Burning Worlds, The Chaos of Standing Still, Better You Than Me, A Week of Mondays, 52 Reasons to Hate My Father, and the Unremembered trilogy.

She’s also the author of the Descendants: School of Secrets series, based on the hit Disney Channel original movie, Descendants.

Her books have been translated and published in over 23 countries and several have been optioned for film and television.

The Rating:

In summary, I took a lot from this audio book even though I had heard some similar story structure techniques before. This book was different and impacting in an all new way — it showed how theme can be woven in and character growth is essential to the outline.

I would HIGHLY RECOMMEND this to any author, rookie or veteran! The master story template has been there right before our eyes all this time, but now it has been brought out in a clear and organized manner for all of us to craft our own unique worlds!

 

By DEREK BARTON — Author of the ELUDE series (Parts I, II & III — a Horror/crime thriller), IN FOUR DAYS, EVADE series (Parts I & II).  Also Grim Fantasy novel series CONSEQUENCES WITHIN CHAOS and THE BLEEDING CROWN (both available on Audible.com!).

New Avenues to Me — Derek Barton 2020

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I have been working hard on strengthening and fleshing out my two resources Pinterest and Patreon for you. These sites should give you even more access to me, my work and new materials I am developing.

For those who may not fully understand what Pinterest is, Pinterest is unique search engine for materials, reference resources and finding key elements that fit into your customized categories. In other words, I have currently fourteen “boards” (categories) where I can “pin” material that I feel fall into those categories. For example I have a board called Storyboard: Horror-Suspense & Crime Inspiration.

 

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When I find an image that intrigues me, I can pin it and keep in that folder. I also have a board for my Fantasy images. This gives me a handy place to get writing ideas as well as show you the readers where I get some ideas. In my board From My Writer’s Blog I have  six subsections with material showing my self-publishing tactics, some biography blogs, my writing prompt stories, etc.

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Some of the other boards are: From My Writer’s Blog, My Horror-Suspense & Grim Fantasy Collection, My Newsletters, Book Reviews, Book Cover Artwork, Landscapes, Batman & Other Comics, My Audiobooks, and My Favorite TV Series.

I can also do my own “pins” like these:

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Also on Pinterest I can place reviews on my books, details about my book & audio book giveaways, or I can share pins from other collaborators and authors I find on Pinterest.  If you want to see my work or other things on my site, you can click here and “follow” me so you can see my contributions and additions to the site.

Patreon Snip 1

Patreon I have previously talked about here. I want to this year do even better at maintaining and providing exclusive access to my work. I have decided that I will be writing a fantasy novella based on this:

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The novella will be seen in chapter installments only on Patreon and sold only in paperback format once completed with signature and customized metal bookmarker to my patrons initially.  The other benefits for becoming patrons will still be there — now I just want to make it even better!!

Please see these two sites and let me know what you think of them and if you have suggestions, comments or ideas to provide even more value to you!!

 

 

Looking Back & Looking Forward – Bi-Monthly Goals — Derek Barton 2020

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It has been a while since I did a “Goal Blog” and I wanted to highlight what this Bi-Monthly System has done for me and what it can empower for you.

This is in no way a bragging post or “look at me” kind of thing. I’m listing these completed goals to be an example how much one could actually accomplish.

COMPLETED Goals since July, 2017:

(The goals crossed out are ones that I deemed not needed after all. The list of Uncompleted Goals are listed below as well. Also, not all of these goals were finished in the expected deadlines, but were completed and that’s why they’re on here.)

Finalize my Chapter Outlines for The Bleeding Crown

Complete the First Rough Draft of Bleeding Crown

Complete 52,000 words written (52 days * 1000 words)

Outline first two books of Elude Series

Write out three more Elude Sections

Compile and create an Ebook on the Writing Craft from my past blogs (completed but didn’t publish)

Design bookmarks for my books: 

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

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

Complete one Newsletter a month

Create a book trailer video

Outline first two books of Elude Series.

Develop the list of Elude characters and develop their background

Create a NaNoWriMo Prep Folder in Scrivener and complete the list of development items.

On October 1st, start editing phase for The Bleeding Crown.

Design book cover for Rookie: Pitfalls of Year One.

Write new book blurbs for all my works and revamp all of the Amazon ads.

Complete a newsletter for each month.

Find a part-time post or two – extra income to help with new bills and investment in writing projects/marketing.

Start a new series of blog posts.

Complete NaNoWriMo Challenge: 50,000 words

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

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 on Cover for The Bleeding Crown — Begin by 2nd 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

Complete Elude #3 book (30,000 to 40,000 words)

Have Elude #3 self-edited by the end of January 2019.

Professionally edited and published by the end of February 2019.

Set up another couple book-signing events for 2019

Complete the last chapters for The Hidden web saga

Started another web saga (Juxtaposed)

Look into the options for booth setups for my book showings.

Thinking about setting up a service to other authors for possible book cover design

Outline Elude 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

Complete the total outline for the third book of the Wyvernshield Series. Highest Priority.

Maintain a two-week production of the chapters for the web series, Juxtaposed.

Develop and begin the Evade Series outline.

Find a cover artist or design the Wyvernshield book covers myself

UNCOMPLETED GOALS:

Read one writing craft book a month

Prepare for book convention in Tucson

Get booth banners

Write 1,000 words per day – blogging, outlining, writing (61,000k).

Sign up for at least two comic-con/book festivals for 2019.

 

As of today, May 7th, 2020, I have 3 novels, 5 novellas under my name (starting back in 2016). I plan on writing through rest of my life, but it is amazing what I have worked through and accomplished by using these guidelines.

Truly it is all down to making a plan, sticking with the plan and persevering through the obstacles.

Now to continue on for 2020…

 

January thru April’s Completed Goals:

Edit Evade Book #1, Book #2

Craft Book Blurb

Designed YouTube website with book trailers for all 5 books & series

Purchase/design book covers for all three books

Set up Beta-readers of Evade #1

Publish Book #1

Once per quarter do an ad (Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads or Amazon)

Connected with Pubby.com for book reviews

Bought a new table & cart for book signings

Found a new set of book stands

Established a Writing Prompt Series done almost bi-weekly

Completed a week-long course on Amazon Ads & Campaigns

May & June Bi-Monthly goals

Donate older book versions to libraries

Connect with my beta-readers for Evade #2

Continue writing and complete Evade #3

Maintain the Amazon Ad campaign

Research to see if anyone is doing book signings in August

Write Fantasy or Horror Writing Prompt stories every two weeks

Do more exclusive posting on Patreon

Get a writing craft audio book

Design new metal bookmarkers for Evade and The Hidden

Work on a way to expand my Email Subscriber List

 

 

Thanks again to everyone that checks in on me, supports my efforts, and provides a lot of beneficial assistance!!  I truly could not get it all done with out you.

 

 

 

Repel The Resistance — Derek Barton – 2020

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Definition of Resistance

The “Resistance” is constant but not futile (a tiny joke and a nod to my fellow Star Trek fans out there).  Resistance is the inner voice that every creator, writer, inventor or artist out there hears deep inside. That annoying, grating, self-indulgent nay-sayer who keeps you from pursuing your dreams, goals or from even putting one foot forward to start on your journies. The voice trapping you behind false masks!

Resistance is born from our insecurities, busy outside lives and the lack of faith in our skills. The questions it seeds our minds with grow into trees of self-fulfilling prophecies. In other words, its true purpose is to give you excuse after excuse why you cannot or will not write today. We all have hundreds of unique excuses and seemingly valid reasons for not putting pen to paper.  Everyone has lives and everyone has their own agendas. Yet if you give in to Resistance, you set up a habit of self-destruction and a pattern of sabotage.

Symptoms of Resistance

  • Procrastination — This is a big one for me. I give myself an out by saying, “I just don’t have the energy” or “I’m too tired tonight. One more day and I’ll get to it.”  Lies I tell myself. Resistance provides a nice pillow for me or it provides a comfy couch for me to binge-watch my shows on instead of battling to find the right words for my chapter.
  • Confusion — You are “stuck” or have a minor case of “writer’s block” because you may have written yourself into a tough scenario and don’t know how to write yourself an escape. Or your outline is vague in this spot or too general and now you find you have to fill in the nasty missing link.
  • Loss of creativity — “How can you be expected to write your masterpiece tonight?”  Or another accusation from Resistance, “I’m not feeling it. The scene isn’t going anywhere.” We stare at the screen or the blank paper for a few seconds then let Resistance “save us” and we jump ship.
  • No motivation/muse — Similar to loss of creativity is lack of motivation or the infamous “muse”. You actually know what you want to write, have the story events in your mind but at the same time doubt nags you or a lack of confidence keeps you from even trying.

Causes of Resistance

  • Low energy — One of the common and easiest ways to let Resistance get over your walls and breach your defenses against it. You have to discover the right time for you and when you are at your peak energy output is key to writing quality work. When are you focused?
  • Illness — Poor health or unexpected events are going to happen. Yet if you plan with “life” in mind, you will give yourself some back up or make-up time. Myself, I have been using Bi-monthly Goals and Writing Sprints to understand better on what to plan for and if they are possible in my given time table. I have also been working on my health and trying to approach those goals like my writing goals. In essence, good health and energy IS a writing goal.
  • Poor planning — By knowing your projects, your actual production limits, and keeping in sight holidays and/or special events in your life, you can keep Reistance at bay often. Also using efficient and beneficial planning for your writing will make it easier to progress. I struggle a lot if I don’t work out my outlines well enough or if I have left a spot too general or vague. I stall without direction. I know this about my writing so I need to adjust accordingly in order  to fend off Resistance.
  • Internet distractions — The internet is a double-edged sword for all writers. We use it constantly in our wordcraft, research and even inspiration. However, it is super addictive, highly distracting and often a vicious time-killer. There are actual websites online that prevent you from accessing other websites or email during a programmed time. It protects you from YOU!
  • Lack of character knowledge — The next two are related to poor design or poor development of story elements. If you have a limited idea of what your character is going to do in a scene, no idea of how they might react under pressure or if you have someone with barely any personality, this will leave you with limited material and limited ways to progress your story. Resistance feeds on lost productivity like this.
  • Off course of plot/storyline — Writer’s Block at its finest can be broken down to another version of “don’t know what to write”. The blank page spans for eons in front of you like a white desert, barren and desolate of life. Yes, of course, when a character goes offscript and drags you and the story into a whole other direction, it could be magical and inspiring, but if you find your story has ground to a halt and Resistance is boiling up, you need to re-examine your original story or outline to find your way back. Resistance could be using your detour and “magical moment” as a way to derail your progress!

Answers to Resistance

  • Maintain a better life & work balance — Nothing is easy and finding the perfect blend of writing and having a family life is a difficult but necessary tool to stop Resistance and your writing production. A great way to see where your actual time goes each day is to track your activities and how much each action takes. You can also learn when you are the most productive by listing the times you write, for how long, and what your word count was for the session.
  • Create a Time Table for your week/writing commitments — A great way to beat Resistance is to make writing routine and habitual. Craft a chart for listing 3 Goal Items:  Writing Commitments, Process/Project Tasks, Personal Ojectives.  What will be your Writing Commitment this week (example: a 25-minute session for 5 days of the week as a success)? What is a Process or Project Task you are going to spend time on (like marketing, editing, etc)? And other Personal Objective you want to accomplish during the week?
  • Set up a writing routine/writing space — Finding routine is essential for habit-making. What works for you as a writer?  Does going to local public places like libraries or coffee shops help you get into your writing zone? Do you need a designated place in your house, a specific hour or quiet atmosphere? Would mood music help you produce more or shut out the noise from Resistance? All of these questions are key to learning the writer you are and what will boost your spirit into writing.
  • Freewriting sprints — Sprints are timed freewriting sessions in which you silence your inner editor (Resistance’s bastard cousin) and produce as many words as possible. Leting go of any obstacles or any normal objections you have. Many writers also use these sprints to get past the initial “blah” to writing. Once you have made it past five or ten minutes, you’ll most likely push through to your daily objective.
  • Delve into your backstories — I touched on this above, but not having any true direction or finding your character is too flat to come to life on paper begs Resistance to block you. My advice is to work on their prior lives. What happened to them before your story? Was there an event which guided their behaviors or personalities? Do they hide from stressors, have character flaws, have unknown strengths or are there secrets in their past you could work out which can add depth and color to your character portrait?
  • Research your subject or develope more of your world — This tip is a balancing act. Resistance can hide here and disguise your efforts at world-building or learning historical or scientific facts as a lengthy distraction and keep you away from your true goals of writing. If you are stuck on a specific area or if you need motivation, use this with precision to get through the part. Limit the time donated on this aspect and you should find it a great way to fight back against Resistance.
  • Reward yourself — If you find Resistance is still putting a wedge between you and your work, add a reward for accomplishing your writing goal. It doesn’t have to be big (special food, coffee, or maybe video game time) will be enough spark to push through. If you want bigger, use the reward to honor completed sets of sessions. An example could be taking the family out for a dinner at the end of the week of completed writing sessions. This gives you and the family quality time together and rewarding those who are in your life supporting your writing.
  • Set your Goals and writing plans realistically — Becoming overwhelmed or finding yourself missing out too much on family events or nights out with friends will invite Resistance into your life guaranteed. It’s a part of that Work/Life balancing act I talked about. If you have too many projects hanging over your head, you’ll lose the thrill to writing. When everything about writing becomes a chore, you will know you have to revisit your goals and what you can accomplish.  I recently did some timed sprints myself and learned that I can at the moment produce 400 words of quality writing in 25 minutes. I’m tracking this and hope to continually build this word count up. If I set goals now for myself to write 2000 words a day, I know it will take me almost three hours. I have a full-time day job and a family of five to support and I want to spend time with as well. Three hours a day would be unrealistic and unfair to those who support me — I would quickly become overworked, stressed out and extremely grumpy. I don’t want to live this way nor do I want to put my family through it. I would love to only have writing but it isn’t financially feasible as well. Plotting out the year with this knowledge however and understanding how illness and holidays will interfere, I can better set up realistic goals.

Remember, being an accomplished, seasoned writer or a brand new novelist doesn’t change the fact Resistance will always be there. Resistance has infinite lives and many devious forms. These tips will help and you will probably find even more ways to keep motivated and strong, but give yourself a break. You will not always be able to ward off the demons of Resistance all of your writing career, but once they rear their ugly heads, cut them off cleanly and quickly! Use drive, planning and organization to keep yourself ahead of the game!

 

Good luck and great writing!

2020 Bi-Monthly Goal Breakdown – Derek Barton

Goal 2020

 

With the New Year almost upon us, I have been working out my upcoming goals and what I’d like to see as far as successful production for 2020.

With a lot of excitement, I am hoping to publish my new suspense/supernatural horror series, Evade! And with a lot of joy and sadness, I will be wrapping up my epic fantasy collection, the Wyvernsield Series. While this may be a “goodbye” to current beloved characters, I am already toying with a story idea with new characters beginning this time in Aberrisc!

As you know if you have been reading any of my goal planning posts, I like the bi-monthly process breakdown. This method has proven to generate the most goal success for me. I’ll be continuing the process, but this time with a larger “arching” picture in mind. I’ll be planning the entire year, broken down in two-month objectives by Work In Progress.

Overall Goal Summary: This year’s production goal is to publish four books — Evade Parts #1,2 & 3  and the last book in the Wyvernshield Fantasy Series.

Works In Progress Goals:

EVADE

January – February

  • Complete writing for Book #3 (anticipated 25,000 word count) 
  • Edit Book #1, Book #2
  • Craft Book Blurb
  • Purchase/design book covers for all three books
  • Publish Book #1

March – April

  • Edit Book #3
  • Publish Book #2

May – June

  • Publish Book #3

WYVERNSHIELD BOOK #3

March – August

  • Complete writing (March through August — anticipated word count 100,000)
  • Edit book (September through November)
  • Publish in December

April – May

  • Purchase cover
  • Write up a book blurb
  • Look into a future Set Collection of all three books

Writing goal

  • 125,000/12 mos
  • Evade Book #3 25,000 — 12,500 per month, 3,125 per week, 625 per 5 days
  • Wyvernshield #3 100,000 — 17,000 per month, 4,250 per week, 850 per 5 days

Marketing goals

  • Once per quarter do an ad (Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads or Amazon)
  • Buy new table & cart
  • Buy banner stands
  • Find/design a book stand
  • Buy Metal Bookmarkers for new books
  • Once per quarter do a local book signing
  • Participate in one national comic convention if possible
  • Expand email list
  • Once per quarter do a giveaway
  • Donate older book versions to libraries

So this is the 2020 Plan but as they are “goals”, these are subject to change, subject to incompletion, and subject to postponement! LOL

While 2019 was a tough and emotional year for me and my family, it turned out overall a very important and rewarding year. In the end, I learned you just have to have faith all will work out and have faith in yourself that you have the strength to see it through!

I wish all of you a successful and happy new year as well!

Parts 3, 4 & 5 of Interview — Derek Barton – 2019

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For those of you who caught Parts 1 & 2 of the interview I had with Voice Actress Laura Richcreek, here are the last three sections.

PART THREE =  https://laurasvoice.com/weve-got-a-plotter/

PART FOUR =  https://laurasvoice.com/wouldnt-have-it-any-other-way/

PART FIVE =  https://laurasvoice.com/flexibility-and-gratitude/

 

Thank you again, Laura!  That was a blast and as always it is a great pleasure working with you on my projects.

Please enjoy these excerpts and have a GREAT HALLOWEEN this year!!

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The Fall Author Fair @ Phoenix Bookmans — Derek Barton – 2019

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COME SEE ME AND GET A BOOK SIGNED!!!

The book fair will have at least 7 other Arizona local authors there for you to meet and greet.

I will also be giving away a set of all my audiobooks (Consequences Within Chaos, The Bleeding Crown, In Four Days and Elude Part One) to one winner who attends.

This should be a great time — DON’T MISS OUT!!

 

Bookmans Exchange 

11 AM to 4:00 PM

NOVEMBER 16TH, 2019

8034 N. 19th Ave.

Phoenix, AZ 85021

Phone: (602) 433-0255

https://bookmans.com

 

AUTHOR INTERVIEW (Pt 2) & Discussion of Wyvernshield Series with Laura Richcreek — Derek Barton 2019

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Check out this blog on Laurasvoice.com or you can listen to it on YouTube.com — this is Part 2 of a 5 Part Series where we discuss the two fantasy novels, Consequences Within Chaos & The Bleeding Crown of the Wyvernshield Series.

During this part of the interview, we discuss the wide variety of creature and human characters within the two books.

 

AUTHOR INTERVIEW (Pt 1) & Discussion of Wyvernshield Series with Laura Richcreek-Morrison — Derek Barton 2019

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Check out this blog on Laurasvoice.com — this is Part 1 of a 5 Part Series where we discuss the two fantasy novels, Consequences Within Chaos & The Bleeding Crown of the Wyvernshield Series.

I discuss with her my inspirations behind some of the unique characters, some of the creatures and give glimpses behind the curtain at what it took to write the complete stories.

TO PROMOTE THIS INTERVIEW SERIES I WILL BE GIVING AWAY A FREE COPY CODE TO CONSEQUENCES WITHIN CHAOS TO THE FIRST TWO PEOPLE TO GO TO MY CONTACT PAGE AND WRITE YOU WANT THE AUDIO BOOK!

 

Great New Cover! — Derek Barton 2019

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I have been hinting that I would be getting a new book cover for Consequences Within Chaosand here it is!!  Be on the lookout for its twin for  The Bleeding Crown in a month or so as well!

I am very pleased by this original work by Joy Landa (check out her website www.spiritspaintbrush.com).

Also, I’m very excited to inform you that I’m having a full world map of Tayneva and the other lands from the Wyvernshield series drawn by Jaro T. Chambers (on Instagram @theragingdm) for the final third book!

Exciting things are happening and more to come…