Like Suspense Novels? Here’s a Chance to Win Five!

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.

https://www.thesuspensezone.com

Win Free Books from The Suspense Zone!

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.

Here’s the link: https://www.thesuspensezone.com/contests/

I wish you well!

Rick

Methuselah Project S.O.S.

A Chance to Win a FREE Book

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.

Blessings to you!

– Rick Barry

Here’s the link to Karla’s interview: https://bit.ly/387x17T

Books that Touch Lives

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!

A FREE offer for 20 People!

Dear friends,

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.

Happy reading!

— Rick

https://booksprout.co/arc/49582/methuselah-project-s-o-s

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.

The Desire Accomplished!

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!

Coming Soon – Methuselah Project: S.O.S.!

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:

BOOKSTORE

The reaction of a fellow author…

“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

Stay tuned for more details in coming weeks!

A Lesson for America from Star Trek

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 back the 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.

Resisting

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.

My Grandfather’s Letter

I never knew my father’s father, Theodore L. Barry. He died 5 years before I was born. But a few years back, a distant relative sent me a letter my grandfather penned in 1948. In it, Grandpa Theodore summarized much of his life for a niece. In this letter, I finally “met” my grandfather. I also learned that he nearly committed an act that would’ve prevented me from being born. 

As a young man in southern Indiana, Theodore met and fell in love with a young lady. He writes, “I was in love with Viola [—-], one of the sweetest girls in 100 miles of New Salisbury. I was sure in love with her. Finally we were married. We had two boys, Russell Barry and Ralph D. Barry and Jessie B. and Marie B. I was in love with my children and my wife. She was a dream.”

However, the dream shattered. While Theodore was working on a streetcar in Louisville, his wife was evidently seeing another man. “Then before I knew anything of what was going on, my wife took my 4 children to her folks and she went back in town.” The next time he saw her, she was with her new guy, a large man with a “sandy” complexion. She wouldn’t let Theodore see his own children. 

Theodore felt betrayed, stabbed in the back and kicked to the wayside. When at last his anger and bitterness overflowed, he decided to take revenge: “I stepped on the streetcar and my intention was to kill both.”

However, before he reached his destination, Theodore changed his mind. Regardless of how justified his anger at the other man and his heartbreak over his wife’s betrayal, he couldn’t do it. Perhaps his love for Viola stayed his hand. He simply couldn’t commit such an act. 

“I was heartbroken. I mourned for my children, but I kept my job and stayed in Louisville for quite a while.”

Yet, Louisville held too many painful reminders of the life he’d lost. So, Theodore received a letter of recommendation from Louisville Railway (the streetcar line) and relocated to Detroit, where he began a new life once again working on a streetcar. In time, Theodore met a woman name Violet Lechner, who worked in a store at the turnaround for the streetcar. Friendship grew into love, and Theodore and Violet married. He and his second wife had 6 children, and my father was the youngest of them. (I’m the youngest son of a youngest son of a youngest son.) Theodore eventually launched into successful business ventures, and he and Violet enjoyed many happy years together in Michigan.

Theodore L. Barry in his real estate office in Detroit.

But what if Theodore had acted on his furious impulse to end two lives? He wrote, “Had I shot both of them, I would not have been a free man today, so thank God.” Thank God, indeed. Venting his anger in gunshots would’ve destroyed others, plus the rest of his own life. But by letting go of his anger, by refusing to hate and moving on, he eventually regained peace and enjoyed many happy years as a successful businessman and family man. 

Eventually word reached grandpa that his first wife in southern Indiana had died, so he was at last able to reconnect with his first 4 children. He visited them in Indiana, and they visited him in Michigan. 

Of course, I’m personally glad my grandfather managed to release his anger and start over. If he’d gone to prison, my dad never would’ve been born. Me neither. 

Theodore Barry visiting southern Indiana on his 1909 Indian Motorcycle. (Note the Detroit banner.)

Anger, hatred, and rage are dangerous. If we allow them to sweep us up and we lash out with words or weapons, sure, we can hurt our targets—but we can also hurt ourselves and prevent many future blessings from happening. It’s a truth worth reflection.

A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back.” Proverbs 29:11

“A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger quiets contention.” Proverbs 15:18

“But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.” Colossians 3:8

Theodore and Violet Barry with Grace, the first of their 6 children.

The Value of Friends

If you could throw your suitcase into the car and take a whirlwind, 5-day vacation, where would you go? 

I recently had that opportunity. First, I considered driving south to the Gulf of Mexico, where I could get relax in a Bed & Breakfast and spend time writing beside the ocean. Instead, I headed north to Indianapolis, where I stayed in one of the apartments maintained by the Christian mission where I worked for years. There, I performed some volunteer labor for the mission and visited local friends, including a Ukrainian couple who, in God’s timing, were visiting the U.S. on behalf of the ministry. 

Next, I headed to Michigan, where I stayed in Dad’s house (and picked up more of my clothing to bring back to Alabama) and visited with him. On my way back south, I swung through Indiana once more, where I enjoyed breakfast with another longtime friend. In Tennessee I paused and enjoyed supper and fellowship with another Ukrainian family I hadn’t seen in years. 

Along the way, I saw plenty of scenery and listened to tons of music and interesting podcasts. But the best part of this trip? Simply spending time with friends and family. In our lives, people come and go. Many of those we call “friends” are actually only acquaintances. But genuine, longtime friends sweeten our lives. We help each other when needed, and we simply take delight in each other, staying in touch despite distance. True friends make this journey through life better, richer. 

Is there a longtime friend or relative you haven’t seen lately? If you can’t go in person, maybe it’s time to drop a card into the mail or to make a phone call. You need not say much. Even a simple, “I just wanted to let you know I’m thinking of you” is appreciated and worth the time to express it!