Archive for March, 2013

This was an interview that I did with the wonderful Dee at the site, “At The Water Cooler.” Check her site out, it is great.

 

BookZone: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

LeRon: I have always loved to write, ever since I was a young child. Creating my own comics, writing poetry, to writing scripts, and finally my first book. Writing has always been a part of my life.

BookZone: What inspired you to write your first book?

LeRon: Writing a book has always been a goal of mine. Being a writer, I have always felt that a book would be the ultimate task.

BookZone: Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book.

LeRon: Straight Dope exposes the reality of drugs in America without any biases.

BookZone: Why this subject matter…why now?

LeRon: I have always wanted to write something that was real and with drug use so rampant, I feel that Straight Dope is so current. With my first book, I wanted it to hit hard and to make an impact.

BookZone: I believe that every author infuses his or her book with a piece of himself or herself. What piece of you would you say resides within the pages of your book?

LeRon: I am all over the book (laughs). Seriously, when I am asking the person the questions, sometimes I may say, “Damn” or ‘Wow.” But when you hear the answers, there was only one way to respond.

BookZone: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in this book?

LeRon: I wanted to speak with some police officers and lawyers to make the book more well rounded, but I believe that it is fine the way it is.

BookZone: What did you learn about yourself while writing this book?

LeRon: That is a good question…

BookZone: How did you come up with the title?

LeRon: I wanted a title that would catch people’s attention and also pertain to the subject of the book.

BookZone: Who designed the cover?

LeRon: My man David Valin. I sent him a couple of pics and we worked around the concept. David is great. You can contact him at: gbdavid1@yahoo.com

BookZone: How did you celebrate the sale of your first book?

LeRon: My book has not come out yet, but I do not know. Maybe scream out from the rafters? LOL

BookZone: If readers get nothing else from your book, what is the one takeaway that you hope they do not miss?

LeRon: That Straight Dope is real, uncut. It is realistic, unbiased, and presents people talking about a very important subject. Straight Dope is not political, just real.

BookZone: Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.

LeRon: The opportunities that have come forth and the new ones that will come. It feels great to be a published writer.

BookZone: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.

LeRon: My ex gf. She was and still is one of my biggest supporters.

BookZone: What would equate success for you, with regards to the release of this title?

  • Purchases
  • Kudos on your writing skills
  • Message received by intended audience
  • All of the above?

LeRon: All of the above. I really want to be respected as a writer. The money and the sales are good, but at the end of the day, I want to be looked at as a great writer that can open the door for other artists – writers, painters, filmmakers….

BookZone: What did you want to be when you grew up…was author on the list?

LeRon: I originally wanted to be a stuntman, but then I realized that they get hurt (LOL). Then I wanted (and still do) to be a race car driver. I have always been fascinated by Formula One racing and have always thought those guys were real fly. I am just not that great of a driver (ask any of my friends), but there is always driving school…… LOL.

BookZone: Any other books in the works? Goals for future projects?

LeRon: In the summer I am releasing, “It’s Good To Be Alive,” a free project that consists of pictures, essays, and poetry celebrating life. I wanted to write something light after Straight Dope. Everyone will be smiling and everything will be happy.

In November, I will be releasing, “All We Need Is Love,” a book similar to Straight Dope that talks about dating, marriage, and every kind of relationship – from  first time love, long distance, interracial, long distance, newly married couples, everyone.

BookZone: What piece of advice would you give to first time authors?

LeRon: Never give up. If this is your dream, then never give up and keep going. There is an audience for every kind of writer. Also, don’t be afraid of constructive criticism. Most of the time, people just want to help.

BookZone: Is there any piece of advice you would like to ask from any of our veteran authors who may stop by?

LeRon: How do you market your book successfully?

BookZone: What book are you reading now?

LeRon: 25th Hour by David Benioff and books on Malcolm X. He is my hero.

BookZone: If you were stranded on a desert island what 3 things would you want with you?

LeRon: Books, Ipod, and nice blanket. LOL

BookZone: If you could jump into a book and live in that world… which would it be?

LeRon: You know, I have always thought that “Le Morte Darthur” was the greatest story that has been written. But, I don’t know, maybe “The Great Gatsby,” or “One Hundred Years in Solitude.” I have always liked Pilar. Ha!

BookZone: Hidden talent?

LeRon: I am a pretty good dancer and cook.

BookZone: Me too (dancing) not so much (cooking) Favorite Candy?

LeRon: Snickers. A girl in high-school used to call me that. And then corn candy.

BookZone: Favorite smell?

LeRon: A freshly showered woman…

BookZone: Favorite scripture/quote?

LeRon: I have a few:

  • “It can’t rain all the time” – The Crow
  • “Be Like Water,” Bruce Lee
  • “I am all that I have met,” Malcolm X

BookZone: Pet peeve?

LeRon: Tardiness!!! I hate when people are late. Value my time please!!!!!

BookZone: Guilty Pleasure?

LeRon: Karaoke. I love to get up and make a total fool of myself.

BookZone: TV or Movies?

LeRon: Hmmm, that is a good question. The quality of movies are horrible these days, and there are some really good writing on TV, so I will go with TV.

BookZone: Coke or Pepsi?

LeRon: Coke, always.

BookZone: Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays?

LeRon: You know, in the privacy of my home, Merry Christmas. But at work/school, Happy Holidays.

BookZone: What was your favorite children’s book?

LeRon: Anything by Dr. Seuss. I think he was a genius. People do not realize how tough it is to write something compelling and that catch a child’s imagination.

BookZone: What book(s) has most influenced your life?

LeRon: Non Fiction, The Autobiography of Malcolm X. It has shaped the way I live my life. I look at things from an aspect of before I read it and after I read it. Confessions by Saint Augustine of Hippo, because he is another of my heroes and I could relate to it in so many ways.

Fiction, definitely Portrait of An Artist As A Young Man by James Joyce. I thought (and still do) that his form and technique was the best I have ever read. The Great Gatsby is my fave book of all time and then Of Mice and Men and the poetry of Langston Hughes. The rhythm he had, it was just, wow…..

BookZone: How do you react to a bad review?

LeRon: You have to take it in stride. It is not gonna kill you. It is just someone’s point of view. Hey, I am pretty sure people slandered Hemmingway’s work, so don’t take it personal.

BookZone: Well said. If you were a super hero what would your kryptonite be?

LeRon: Beautiful women. LOL.

BookZone: You have won one million dollars what is the first thing that you would buy?

LeRon: I would buy my Mom a house. Every young man wants to buy his Mom a house.

BookZone: True Dat. Do you have a specific writing style?

LeRon: I think that I am influenced by Joyce, Chris Clairemont, Hughes… But I specific style? I don’t know. Hopefully.

BookZone: Which authors have influenced you most and how?

LeRon: Joyce, Hughes, Marquez, Clairemont, Sir Thomas Mallory, Studs Terkel (of course).

BookZone: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about his/her work?

LeRon: My fave author is James Joyce. His technique and form are just unbeatable.

BookZone: Do you see writing as a career?

LeRon: Yes. This is what I was meant to do.

BookZone: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?

LeRon: Not this book, but I have a couple of ideas for future projects that will need me to hit the road.

BookZone: What’s the best advice anyone has ever given you?

LeRon: My Mom told me, “Self-doubt has no place in your mind.” I think about that a lot and just push on.

BookZone: What’s your favorite season/weather?

LeRon: Fall because the trees and sky are just beautiful. Plus fall has the best fashion!

BookZone: Yeah, we see you rocking the turtleneck…lol. What do you do in your free time?

LeRon: Write (LOL). Read, explore, meet up with friends, travel, take pictures, workout, and just try to be the best LeRon I can possibly be.

BookZone: Give us a glimpse into a typical day in your day starting when you wake up till you lie down again.

LeRon: Okay, I probably wake up around 7 am and start checking emails. I cannot sleep in. My Grandfather would always say, “Boy if you’re up, get up.” LOL. I then turn my phone on, grab some water and go to the gym. If this is a non-work day, then I would write a little, go to brunch and grab some champagne (because it is brunch!), take a train to SF or Oakland, walk around, meet up with friends, and try to have tons of fun!

BookZone: In your wildest dreams, which author would you love to co-author a book with?

LeRon: Marquez. He is probably the world’s greatest living writer.

BookZone: If you had to choose, which author would you consider a mentor?

LeRon: My high-school teacher Stan Banks. He would always encourage me and I get a lot of my poetry reciting style from him.

BookZone: Are there any new authors that have caught your interest?

LeRon: I am still reading the classics, so unfortunately not.

BookZone: Name 3 top items on your bucket list.

LeRon:

  • Go on an around the world trip
  • Pay for someone’s meal anonymously
  • Buy a Ferrari (seriously).

BookZone: If you got a TV/movie deal, what would the names in yo ur cast line up look like?

LeRon: That is a good question. I like Taye Diggs, Thandie Newton, Christian Bale, and Oliver Matinez. And we can have Mark Romanek direct it. I love his style.

BookZone: If you were given the opportunity to go back to the past or to the future, which would you choose and why?

LeRon: My dream has always been to live forever. If I had a chance, I would love to go back to the 70’s during the disco era. My Mom loved disco and I love house music. Just the love that was going on back there…

BookZone: Do you prefer a bunch of small gifts or one big expensive one?

LeRon: That is a good question. Big gifts…..

BookZone: In the 1999 film, The Matrix, the main character Neo is offered the choice between a red pill and a blue pill. The blue pill would allow him to remain in the fabricated reality of the Matrix. The red pill would lead to his escape from the Matrix and into the “real world”. If you were given such a choice, which pill would you choose and why?

LeRon: I have always been about truth and reality, so I will would go with the red pill. Don’t feed me crap, I want the real.

BookZone: I hear that. Do you have anything specific that you wish to say to your readers?

LeRon: Thank you all for checking out this interview. Straight Dope is my first book of hard work, grind, and determination. I believe that everyone will find something that they like when reading it. Mainline Publications and I will continue to push the line and release edgy, innovative projects. I have a lot of stuff in the pipeline, so stay tuned. You will not be disappointed.

BookZone: We are sure we will not be. Thanks LeRon!

While working at this telemarketing firm, after work a few of us would blow off steam by going over one of another’s house and drink and smoke. It was a Friday ritual. You had to.Being on the phone five or six hours straight talking and trying to convince folks that they needed an alarm or whatever would drive you nuts. Matter of fact, you had to be on something half the time to get through the day, but that’s a whole ‘nother story. Anyway, this one particular night, maybe 5 or 6 of us went over this one girls house to party. Nice person, pretty, but always seemed “off.” Well, we were chilling, talking shit about management, the people, and whatever we wanted to blow off, while drinking Corona, cheap wine, and whatever weed we could get our hands on. The girl goes in the kitchen and starts smoking something else. I’m curious, so I follow and by the time I get in the kitchen, I can tell by the smell this aint weed. “What is that?” I ask. She says, “Opium,” playfully. Now the girl knew I liked her and she felt the same way about me, so I was down to try.

The girl took a drag from the pipe and gave me a “shotgun.” After taking that hit, I looked at the girl for a second, then sat down for what it seemed like five minutes, but was really hours.

A couple of months went by and I never seen her again. I went to my man “A,” who was also a supervisor, and asked him if he seen the girl. A said, “Nah, she couldn’t handle her shit.” I looked at him and said, “That’s fucked up.” A replied, “Nah, that’s life.”

For more stories like this, pick up Straight Dope: A 360 degree look into American drug culture available at Amazon.com now!!

Inadequate

Posted: March 14, 2013 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , ,

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate but….

We are truly amazing. I think many people do not believe how great they are. When I was dating my ex (but totally awesome) girlfriend, she would always say that I was afraid of success, and I would be totally bewildered by that. Think about it, who would be afraid of achieving their goals, their dreams, totally triumphant over everything that they wanted. But then as I thought about and thought about (there was a lot of thought into this Ha!), I realized she was right (this was a common thing in our relationship). I did have a fear of success. What if I did achieve my goals? My life would totally change. Fear! Oh the fear. Think about it: Everything you have worked for you would have gotten, and that scares the crap out of some people. Some of it is because we don’t think we could ever accomplish our goals and the other would be because we do not deem ourselves worthy.

When I was younger, I never thought I was worthy. Why? Well there were a couple of things: I was teased because of the way I looked. I had a big head, I mean I couldn’t fit certain hats (I still have that problem darn it!), I was of a darker complexion, I talked very proper because my Mom made us read CONSTANTLY (thanks Mom), and because I was a little on the clumsy side (yep). So naturally teasing makes you feel a little insecure. When I started out writing, I would always say to myself, “Is this good enough?” “Am I as good as so and so…” And that train of thought would kill me. One day I was talking to my Mother about something and had said, “I don’t know if this is going to be good enough…” She interrupted me with the quickness (very fast she is) and said, “LeRon, there is no room in your mind for self doubt.” I would like to say that after that moment I stopped thinking like that, but I didn’t. It took awhile, but then I realized that I am great at what I do and there is no need to doubt myself. Why? It is a total waste of time. And from there came the realization that I am worthy of greatness.

A long time ago, I heard someone say, “If you don’t believe in yourself, why should someone else?” And that is so true. We are capable of so much, but we let fear and doubt cripple us. When I backpacked throughout Central America last year, I met so many people who were doing crazy things, not even thinking about if they would fail or if it wouldn’t be successful. They were doing it and the energy was infectious.

What I am trying to say is that it all boils down to confidence, self love, and knowing that you will make it. This may sound clichéd, but you have to believe in yourself. Why not?? Every time I think about not succeeding or accomplishing a goal, I think of two things: What my Mother said and Liz Murray. Liz who? She is a young lady who was homeless and worked her way up to going to Harvard. Yes, that Harvard. So if she can do it, you can. You just have to realize you are worth it. You are worthy. You are great. You are created in His image and if you believe he is the all great, the you know you are fantastic! All that and then some! I am gonna leave you with one of my all time fave quotes from Marianne Williamson. She is super awesome and I am truly blessed to come in contact with her.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

LeRon

P.S. If you have some Pisces women in your life, listen to them. Yeah sometimes they may bug you (well a lot), but they know what they are talking about.Image

Straight Dope: A 360 degree look into American drug culture is available at Amazon.com NOW!!

Hey all,

Check out http://blogtours.atwc1.com/blog/straight-dope-virtual-book-tour-for-leron-barton-march-11-15-2013/ for the blog tour At The Water Cooler has hosted. Dee the owner is awesome and is a great tour host. Don’t forget to enter the giveaway for a $10.00 Amazon gift card and a chance to win a free copy of Straight Dope: A 360 degree look into American drug culture.

LeRon

cover1

When you are in the game, the money may come, but the cops will be right behind.

Straight Dope: A 360 degree look into American drug culture by LeRon L. Barton is available at Amazon.com now!

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Straight Dope has been featured on indie writing blog – GoodKindles!! Check it out –

http://www.goodkindles.net

Straight Dope: A 360 degree look into American drug culture available at Amazon.com NOW!!!

Usually I use Mainline Publishing as a way to promote my book, “Straight Dope: A 360 degree degree look into American drug culture,” but I wanted to talk about something that was really important to me. I hope you can take away something from this.

A long time ago, like 20 years ago (man I am so dating myself here. Don’t try and do the math) I was told by certain relatives, “You better start messing with some girls. You don’t want people to start calling you a faggot do you?” I said, “No. Hell nah.” I had been a young guy not so much interested in chasing women but caught up in hip-hop and X-Men comic books. I would admire women, but at that time, they were not really on my radar. And so because of that, certain relatives started to wonder, “Whats wrong with LeRon?” and “Why does he not talk about girls?”

Growing up in the Black community, the male is often looked at as super-masculine. A hard, tough man who is the provider, he can never show weakness. He is not meant to cry, be soft, or anything other than a John Henry type character. There can be no trace of femininity. So when a man does not fit this very linear profile, he is vilified. Coming up, many folks would disparage and just straight out hate homosexuals. I mean the most angry comments you could imagine would be thrown. It did not matter if that person was gay or not, because if that guy (and sometimes, but rarely women) were not fitting the profile of a straight man, then he was attacked. And because this was the order of the day, monkey see/monkey do, I would hurl my insults and embody that hatred.

Hating something or someone takes a lot of effort. You have to always have on your mind, “You hate this type of person.” It does not matter if you have never met or had interaction with the people you hate, you have to hate them. It is like a job. Wake up in the morning and say to yourself, “Time to hate.” And looking back on that, a lot had to do with how I was raised. I didn’t have my Father around and was raised by my Mother with my Grandmother and Aunt. Even though my Grandfather was in the household, I was surrounded by women, so naturally I am not gonna be the most masculine cat in the world. I grew up learning how to cook, knowing about fashion designers, and watching soap operas, so I didn’t fit in the mold of the super masculine black man. To overcompensate for this, I tried (unsuccessfully) to be tough (which got me thrown in jail – not the best place to be) and jumped into the “F Gays” and “Lesbians are worthless” bandwagon. Yeah, that was me. It is sick to even think about it now, but that’s how messed up I was.

 I can’t remember the moment when I started to let go of these beliefs, but I just noticed that it was gradual. See the thing about exposure and ignorance is that they cannot coexist. You can be huddled up in your own little space believing what you want to believe, but once you leave that space, you start to see life in a whole different way. And when I left my neighborhood and started to interact with different types of people, the negative beliefs I once held, faded away. I then started realizing, “Darn, I wasted a lot of time thinking that way.”

 When I moved back to SD in 2005, I mostly hung around with women because well, if you know me you know I love “Team Woman (LOL).” But as much as I loved the opposite sex (and still do), I needed guy friends. The thing about making friends when you get older, is that it is not as easy as it was when your were in high school or college. People got families, jobs, gf/wives, so most cats don’t have time to hit up the bars or watch a game. I remember the first guy that I started hanging with was my man Matty. He was a recent transplant and we hit it off. Unbeknownest to me, he was also Gay. At this time in my life, it didn’t matter to me. Hey, I didn’t Gay bash, I supported Gay rights, and accepted everyone for who they were. But I still used the word Faggot and said things like, “That is so Gay,” and my personal favorite, “No Homo.” Now lets think about this: You call yourself non homophobic, go to Gay bars with your homie, and are accepting of all, but still use the slurs? Something aint right.

always said that, “You can call me anything – Asshole, bastarrd, punk, yada yada, yada, but you will not call me a hypocrite.” I always felt that being a hypocrite was the worst thing a person could be, and I was walking around being one. My friend Andrea and I would have these awesome discussions and she woud always site the, “Fully evolved male,” and that is something that I have always sought to be. By me using these words, even in a playful way didn’t aid me in my quest to be that. So I put them down. I realized that they had no place in my life, like Kenny G CD’s and voting for Marco Rubio (POW). By saying these slurs, I was doing my friendships with those who are Gay a disservice.

Now I can call myself an ally of the LGBT community. I mean if you think about it, mad Gay people have impacted my life. My fave poet of all time (Langston Hughes) is gay. My fave rock singer of all time (Freddie Mercury) is gay. One of my fave fashion designers (Giorgio Armani) is Gay. One of my bestest friends (whats up Jason T) is Gay. Heck, my fave Sunday brunch place is Gay (Urban Moes, Holla!). So many great people in my life are apart of the homosexual community and I would not want to do anything but show them love. So I guess what I am trying to say is that any type of homophobia – from the casual playful to the vitriolic is wrong. Cut it out, your better than that.

LeRon