Hi friends! In recent days, the folks at Celebrate Lit have been running a blog tour for my new Christian suspense novel, Methuselah Project S.O.S. So far, 20 book reviewers have read and written up their personal impressions of the story. (And I’m pretty thrilled that the great majority have really enjoyed the story, even when it was outside their normal genres.) If you’d like to learn more about the book or to see what these reviewers are saying about it, check out this link for Celebrate Lit. While there, you will have many chances to win a FREE copy of the book along with a $25 Amazon gift card. Leaving a comment on any of the bloggers’ reviews will add more odds of winning. But don’t delay–this blog tour will soon run out! Blessings to you!
For anyone interested, I’m sharing here an interview with me from the Hoosier Ink website:
Hello everyone! For your reading pleasure today, I’m happy to catch up with longtime friend and writing mentor, Rick Barry.
DARREN: Rick, thank you for taking time to “e-join” us to bring everyone up-to-date on your life events and writing journey.
RICK: Thanks for the opportunity, Darren!
DARREN: Where in the world are you now and what have you been up to?
RICK: For the past 2+ years, I’ve been in northern Alabama, where I’m a caregiver for my mother. Since I can’t really fulfill this role of caregiving while holding a full-time job, I live in her home and do freelance writing, editing, and translating to earn income.
DARREN: I know you’ve recently published a follow-up novel to TheMethuselah Project, can you tell us a little bit about that novel?
RICK: The follow-up book is titled Methuselah Project S.O.S. Although it’s a sequel, I purposely crafted the story in such a way that readers can understand and enjoy it even if they never saw the first book. The action takes place a few years after the original story. Now, Roger Greene is a pilot in the modern Air Force. But when the CIA taps him for duty on a covert mission involving the Heritage Organization (which he once escaped), this pilot lands in more than danger than he ever imagined. It includes a touch of romance, too.
DARREN: Who is your primary audience for these suspense novels?
RICK: Interesting question. As I wrote these Methuselah novels, I wrote in a such a way to appeal to both male and female fans of suspense. But when I check the statistics of readers who follow my Facebook author page, I see that nearly half of them are women, ages 35 to 65. Of course, there are male and female followers who are younger and older, but this is my largest block of readers. (And it’s so fun when reviewers write something like, “I don’t usually read this kind of novel, but I gave it a try and loved it!”)
DARREN: What has been your experience on the self-pub journey? Software used, platforms, etc. Can you compare the journey in self-pub vs. your prior novels being published traditionally?
RICK: With more and more terrific authors diving into self-publishing with good results, I’d been wanting to give it a try for some time. I had a couple different manuscripts as options but ended up choosing Methuselah Project S.O.S. I confess that working with traditional publishers is much easier. They provide the editors, proofreaders, cover designers, and they resolve all of the technicalities of the actual printing process.
A self-pubber must be ready to learn many new skills and be prepared to solve one problem after another in prepping the manuscript for publication: Hiring experienced editors & proofreader, cover designer, formatting the polished manuscript and using Scrivener or Vellum or other software. The designer’s cover art might need adjusting from RGB color scheme to CMYK for professional printing procedures. You might need to convert the final formatted PDF into a different type of PDF, too. (I had no idea how many different types of PDFs exist until I self-pubbed.)
Furthermore, the self-pubber needs to learn the disadvantages and advantages of various companies to partner with in order to produce and market paperback versions and ebook versions. (Examples are Amazon KDP, IngramSpark, and Draft2Digital.) There is so much more to learn before you can self-pub. New questions and problems constantly confronted me.
DARREN: What is your greatest struggle as a writer?
RICK: The time barrier. There are only so many hours in a day, and as a caregiver not all of those hours are mine to use as I would like. Still, I press forward with what time I have.
DARREN: How has “the Covid life” affected your writing, or has it?
RICK: It hasn’t affected my writing much at all. I was already confined to working alone, at home, long before Covid-19. When other people started complaining that they had to work from home instead of in an office with colleagues, I thought, “Join the club!”
DARREN: What is your next writing venture? What’s next in the Rick Barry Universe?
RICK: I’m now heating up a fun project that has been on the back burner for a long time. It began as a series of 3 short science fiction stories that I wrote for Focus on the Family years ago. I’ve taken the original premise and expanded and continued the story into a YA sci-fi tale revolving around a 17-year-old Christian guy who winds up in a bizarre adventure that I call The Next Fithian. I contracted speculative-fiction author Sharon Hinck to do the substantive edit. Imagine my excitement when this seasoned writer declared the story “great” and “wonderful”! To be sure, she found many passages that needed polish, but her enthusiasm has been extremely encouraging.
DARREN: Can you give some advice on writing to non-fulltime writers who can only write during “spare” time?
RICK: I wrote my first three novels while working full time, so I can relate. The fact is, MOST novelists have fulltime jobs and write whenever they can fit it in. My day job required much time in front of a computer screen. Sometimes my eyes grew sick of gazing at a monitor. Other times I felt brain dead. Excuses for not writing are a penny a dozen—“I’m too tired,” “I don’t have enough time,” “I’m not ready,” “My idea needs more development before I can start,” “I can’t concentrate unless I have large blocks of time,” “I have to watch my favorite TV show and read all of my books first,” etc, etc.
But a person who truly has a God-given yen to write absolutely MUST overcome all of the excuses and find a way, or it will never happen. If we give excuses the upper hand, then they will keep us from writing all the way to the grave. Can’t you find time to sit and compose just one double-spaced page (250 words) a day? (It’s totally okay if each page is garbage that needs a ton of editing. Just get it down.) What, you seriously can’t carve out enough time to type just one page? Okay, then, sit down and type just one paragraph each day. Or even one measly sentence per day.
If you can consistently add something—anything—to your manuscript 5 or 6 days per week, then in time that steady persistence will grow full novels. I’ve seen such simple stick-to-it-iveness work for busy homeschool moms with many kids. I’ve seen it work for a secretary who composed her very first novel one letter at a time on her cellphone (incredible!) each day during her lunch break. It’s not easy, but nobody ever said writing is easy.
DARREN: Well, thank you for taking time to chat today. If we want to learn more about you, where can we go and where can we find your books?
RICK: The best place to go is my website, rickcbarry.com. It includes more about me, plus a page dedicated to all of my published novels. The books themselves are available on Amazon and anywhere books are sold.
DARREN: Thank you again for taking the time to interview and I’m really excited to see what comes next for you!
RICK: Thank you very much!
Darren Kehrer writes science fiction and Christian speculative fiction; however, his current writing project is a book on leadership: The Adventure Guide to Leadership, which views leadership as a journey accumulating best practices along the way.
Once again, The Suspense Zone is offering chances to win 5 different suspense novels. One of them is my latest, Methuselah Project S.O.S. To learn more about each author and their books, or simply to enter the giveaway, follow this link to The Suspense Zone and click ENTER NOW at the bottom.
Not long ago, The Suspense Zone contacted me and asked if they could feature me and Methuselah Project S.O.S. on their site. I said, “Sure!” Their interview with me won’t go live until January 25, but for all of January, you can submit your email address for a chance to win a free paper & ink copy of my latest, Methuselah Project S.O.S.!
PLUS — While you’re on that site, you’ll see other new suspense novels by talented writers. Check them out! You can submit your name for a chance to win each of those, too.
Hi friends. Fellow writer Karla Akins asked to interview me for her website. As a bonus for visiting the interview, leave a comment on that page, and Karla will pick a random commenter to receive a free, signed copy of my latest novel, Methuselah Project S.O.S.
I’m thankful for each of my novels that has found its way to publication. Of course, I appreciate the income from sales, but there’s another element that is much more special than dollars. It’s learning that my books have affected lives in a positive way. Here’s an excerpt from a note from a young lady named Stephanie:
“The main reason why I’m emailing you is about my little brother becoming a reader. He’s 10 now and has not been a reader at all… although I’ve tried very hard to help make that happen. He’s also never just picked up a book and read it for fun—until just recently when he picked up Gunner’s Run from one of my various bookshelves. He looked at it for a little bit, then just started reading it—and now he’s finished it. “When he first started it, I thought that it would be too hard for him to understand or too long for his short attention span, but I didn’t say anything to him and now he’s proven me wrong. He kept updating me on the part he was at and what he thought about it. He really enjoyed it! And it’s either the first or one of the first books that he’s read on his own accord and enjoyed. So, I just wanted to tell you that story and thank you for writing a book that would introduce my little brother to the joy of reading.”
I was amazed enough that a 10-year-old could read a book that I’d written for young adults and adults. (The oldest reader I know of was a World War 2 veteran.) But how special that my novel was possibly the first he’d ever read for the sheer enjoyment.
An adult woman who worked as a travel agent also once contacted me about Gunner’s Run. Her email informed me that her copy had rested, untouched, on her nightstand for several weeks. But then she had a stroke and was diagnosed with cancer about the same time. While convalescing, she began to read it. In chapter 1, airman Jim Yoder is angry at God for letting his mother die. But when he falls out the bomb bay of his B-24 and ends up alone, on foot, and on the run in Nazi Germany, he begins recalling spiritual lessons his mother had taught him. This travel agent declared that, as she read, “My spiritual journey mirrored that of Jim Yoder.” Later, I learned she had died. Possibly, my book was the last one she read—and it touched her for good.
Another woman once told me in person that her 20-year-old cousin (or was it a nephew?) has dyslexia and had never read a whole book in his life. To him, books simply had not been worth the struggle to read them. But then he discovered Gunner’s Run. Jim Yoder’s struggle to evade the Nazis and return to England gripped his imagination. Once again, someone who had never read a complete book finished one of mine.
I could share more examples. However, these are enough to explain why I thank God for using my stories to make a worthwhile impact on people’s lives. Often you don’t need to preach or teach to help people. Occasionally, all you have to do is give them an uplifting story with positive themes woven between the lines!
Today is the day before the official release day of my new book, Methuselah Project S.O.S. It’s no secret that book launches are exciting events for authors. After months (or years) of toil, the long-awaited project finally becomes a reality. It’s almost like having a new baby.
As part of the celebration, here’s an offer that is FREE but only for 20 of you. Today I’ve uploaded digital copies of the book (epub, mobi, PDF) to the Booksprout website. What’s Booksprout? It’s a site where readers like you can download digital books for free — with one catch. In exchange for the free read, Booksprout makes you promise to leave at least one (but hopefully more) review at online sites like Amazon, B&N, Kobo, etc. They even give you the links to the book’s page at those sites.
Note: A review isn’t telling what the book is about. (That spoils it for other readers.) A review simply means clicking how many stars you would rate a story (1-5), along with 1 to 4 sentences telling how the story struck you. What you liked, or how it made you feel. That’s it. You don’t promise to love the stories or give them great ratings. Just your honest impressions in exchange for a free read. In the case of this book, Booksprout is offering 5 weeks before your review is due.
Interested? If so, below is the link to my book on Booksprout. Remember, only 20 people can use this offer. After 20 are downloaded, Booksprout has no more. Grab one now.
P.S. You might wonder “What’s the big deal about online reviews?” For authors, the more reviews, the better. A book that has a couple hundred or even thousands of reviews looks much more intriguing to buyers than a book that earned only 3 reviews (which are probably from the author’s own family). The words you jot in your review just might be the ones that nudge someone else to buy the book.
Proverbs 13:19 says, “The desire accomplished is sweet to the soul.” May I add that the desire accomplished can be downright exciting, too?
I’m thrilled to say the Lord has helped me to accomplish a desire of my heart and to publish my fourth novel, Methuselah Project S.O.S. In it, Roger Greene (the hero of The Methuselah Project) receives a special distress call. Honor and duty prompt him to accept temporary duty with the CIA to help. Starting at that launch point, this Air Force pilot lands in more danger than he ever imagined.
Although I’d love to tell you more, I won’t spoil the story. What I will reveal is that each of my beta readers (volunteer readers who offer feedback) responded with incredible enthusiasm! Although all of them had enjoyed Roger Greene and his girlfriend Katherine in The Methuselah Project, I believe they agreed unanimously that this book is even better.
Diane K. in Ireland wrote, “I was struggling to put it down,” which is a reaction every author hopes to achieve.
Despite spotting a number of mistakes, Lois H. wrote, “It lives up to expectations. You do tension so well. In every part of it, there is heart-thudding excitement.”
Jim G. wrote that he and his wife Ruth enjoyed it completely. “I was always drawn to want to know what was going to happen next. I am looking forward to it coming out in book form. We will be buying some copies to give as gifts to friends and family.” (That’s one of the highest compliments an author can receive.)
Melissa T. provided especially detailed feedback and suggestions. She wrote, “And the humor. The Methuselah Project made me laugh, but I’m pretty sure this sequel made me laugh even more. I will have you know, the part where Roger realizes he’s [spoiler removed] had me DYING.” She went on to say, “I really loved how the stakes were higher in this book…. The stakes kept rising even within the book, which held my attention as ‘This is bad’ went to ‘This is really bad’ to ‘This is really, REALLY bad.’ Great story crafting.”
Other beta readers provided fantastic encouragement, too, but I’ll resist the temptation of sharing it all. Suffice it to say that I’m grateful to the Lord for enabling me to complete this project of the heart. After all the work that went into it, I hope many, many readers will sign aboard for this suspenseful trip through danger, duty, hope, and love.
If you’re interested, the release date is October 20. But Amazon and other online booksellers are now accepting pre-orders for both the print book and the ebook. (Only $2.99 for the ebook, and $14.99 for print). Whether you read it or not, thank you for sharing my excitement over this desire accomplished!
They’re back! In my suspense novel, The Methuselah Project, we met Captain Roger Greene and his beautiful girlfriend Katherine Mueller. When I wrote that book, I intended it as a standalone story. However, just in case readers wanted more, I left a number of plot lines dangling, including a secret, worldwide organization intent on manipulating world affairs and an angry assassin who was supposed to kill Roger but bungled his assignment. Because so many readers clamored for more, the sequel is scheduled for release in October. Get ready for higher stakes, more tension, and plenty of adrenaline when Roger and Katherine get pulled into totally unexpected circumstances in Methuselah Project: S.O.S.!
You didn’t read The Methuselah Project? No problem. You can enjoy Methuselah Project: S.O.S. as its own self-contained adventure. It will launch you into an unforgettable journey through danger, suspense, hope, and love. But for the full experience, why not order book one? You can grab a copy through this link, or through your favorite book vendor:
“I’ve been waiting five years for the follow up to The Methuselah Project, and Rick Barry did not disappoint me. The fast-paced Methuselah Project: S.O.S. had me reading past midnight to see what happens next!”
—Patricia Bradley, author of the Logan Point series, Memphis Cold Case Novels, and the Natchez Trace Parkway Ranger series
If a 1968 episode of Star Trek contains a lesson for today’s USA, is that lesson from the future, or from the past? I’ll summarize; you can decide!
In the episode “Day of the Dove,” Klingons capture Captain Kirk and his landing party. Irate, the Klingon captain, Kang, accuses Kirk of firing at his ship—which Kirk never did. Now Kang wants Kirk’s ship. Unexpectedly, Ensign Chekhov shouts at the Klingons, accusing them of murdering his brother. The Klingons place an “agonizer” device on Chekhov’s face. To stop the torture, Kirk agrees to surrender and to beam the Klingons up with the humans. However, when he calls the ship to transport up both groups, he includes a secret signal. First Officer Spock understands: he beams up the humans, followed by the Klingons. Security captures the Klingons. Meanwhile, a glowing creature from the planet enters the U.S.S Enterprise undetected.
Still with me?
The plot thickens…
Aboard ship but invisible, the mystery creature seals most of the Enterprise crew below decks. It also locks the ship’s engine into full speed toward the edge of the galaxy. Then, when the entity changes all modern weapons into antique swords, both humans and Klingons seize the blades. Panicked and furious, humans and Klingons begin battling each other.
Luckily, good ol’ Mr. Spock is immune to the hatred raging through the two crews. He detects the presence of the alien and realizes it has artificially created the whole battle. The unseen enemy somehow feeds off the rage of both races. When Lt. Sulu informs Kirk that Chekhov never even had a brother, Kirk realizes the creature can even plant false memories in their brains to provoke more intense violence. The mysterious entity has turned them all into its pawns.
Unable to get his crewmen to stop fighting as long as the Klingons press the attack, Kirk tries to convince Kang of their true predicament. But Kang doesn’t believe it. Instead, he attacks. Eventually, though, with the now-glowing entity hovering above the two captains and feeding off their violence, Kirk convinces Kang that their real threat isn’t each other—it’s the alien who’s manipulating their minds to combat.
When each side stops fighting and joins in laughing at the creature, the entity finally exits the ship.
Pulling backthe curtain
In recent months, tempers in the U.S. have been riding high. Covid-19 had already created nationwide frustration due home quarantine, job losses, business failures, mandatory masks, widespread confusion, fears, and a list of infringements. The powder keg was already set to explode when a police officer’s unwarranted actions resulted in an unnecessary death. Boom.
Suddenly, a nation that had been in peace erupted. Some people (not all) reacted violently. The delighted media began feeding us a constant stream of insults, accusations, vandalism, looting, assaults, robbery, arson, destruction of property… The stories act like gasoline being poured on the flames of indignation. Before long, even mild-mannered citizens felt like hurting somebody.
Meanwhile, like on Star Trek, the real enemy has been invisibly hovering among us, feeding off this explosion of human violence and probably laughing his head off. In the Gospel of John (chapter 8, verse 44), Jesus called Satan a murderer from the beginning and the father of lies. Is it any wonder that Satan, our invisible foe, manipulates people and situations to spread resentment, false information, division, lawlessness, and anarchy? No doubt, the Devil would love to see Americans at each other’s throats. It’s the old military strategy, “Divide and conquer.”
What? Isn’t Satan a myth? Not at all. The same Bible that teaches us God exists teaches Satan exists, too. But he’s clever. He stays out of sight and encourages us to believe he’s not real. You can’t fight an enemy you don’t think exists. But God’s Word emphasizes he’s dangerous: “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). When you ignore him, he wins.
The first step to stopping the tide of violence is to realize (as Kirk did) that our neighbors are not our true enemy. When one person—or even hundreds of people—of a particular skin color, or with a particular job, or from a particular nationality, commits a lawless act, that doesn’t mean every person of that color, job, or nationality is evil. The moment you single out any group of citizens and say, “All _______ are bad,” you’re wrong. That kind of thinking is polluted, devilish.
Friend, there are definitely people who commit outrageous actions. (Some people make inflammatory comments or commit violence specifically to spark violent reactions. For them, it’s like a sport.) However, if our society is going to make progress, we mustn’t fall into the trap of hating whole segments of it based on the actions of a misguided few. We can borrow a page from Mr. Spock’s playbook: We can observe. We can realize we’re being played. And we can reject the temptation to hate our neighbors.
Does that mean we condone criminal behavior? No. We can’t, because “every city or house divided against itself shall not stand” (–Jesus, Matthew 12:25). But neither should we let ourselves be suckered into race-baiting or engineered animosity. The transgressions of the few can be lawfully addressed without us hating everybody who looks like them or talks like them. (Yes, I realize I’m omitting all kinds of politics. That’s intentional.)
None of us can force others how to think or behave. But if you’re a fan of life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, and a harmonious society, I invite you to make a personal decision: refuse to hate. Don’t let yourself be provoked by those trying to stir up your hatred. True, we need to defend ourselves from violence and outlaws. But even then, we need not hate a whole people group based on the rhetoric or criminal behavior of individuals.
If everyone lived that way, maybe America really could live long and prosper.