The “Wrong” Place Can Be the Right Place

Ever get perturbed when your carefully laid plans don’t go the way you wanted? In World War II, that happened to Captain Alvin Carlson in a dramatic way. Carlson served as chaplain to the 134th Infantry Regiment of the 35th Division in Europe. He wrote…

“One Sunday evening about sundown I had gathered with a large group of replacements (later called reinforcements) in our marshaling area, which was approximately six miles from the front lines. We had assembled in an orchard well protected by apple trees and other foliage. The service of worship was in progress when, without warning, ‘Bed-check Charlie’ started to strafe and hurl bombs at us. One of the men, detecting the first plane, shouted, ‘Enemy planes!’ and we ran for the foxholes. A short time before this I had dug a special foxhole which I could use when I remained in the area overnight, but I could not reach it. I jumped into another hole which was near. Suddenly someone shouted, ‘They got the chaplain.’ I rushed out of my foxhole and shouted, ‘No, here I am!’ A bomb had fallen in my hole – but no one was in it.” 

Friend, you may lay your plans, and God might allow those plans to work as you hope, and He might not. But for those who love the Lord, even the “wrong” place – the unplanned place – can be the right place to be when God is working behind the scenes.

Source: He Is Able, by Chaplain Alvin O. Carlson (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1945), pp. 35-36.

Christmas Stories

I admire the power of story. A well-told tale can pluck us from our current life then insert us into some totally different place and time. Along the way, the story can make us care about the hero/heroine and hope that person emerges victorious, whether the opposition comes in the form of bad guys, challenging goals, or a difficult situation. Through story, we can experience a wide range of emotions, almost as if we, ourselves, were living those experiences. A story that we truly enjoy will provide a feeling of satisfaction by The End. We may have even learned something about life.

As we approach the end of 2019, I notice several friends reminiscing about favorite Christmas stories, both books and movies. (A few confess already binging on Hallmark videos!) Does your own favorite story involving Christmastime include Dr. Marcia Fieldstone? Or romance? A Red Ryder BB Gun? Or maybe Cindy Who down in Whoville? 

Some stories we all know. But chances are you’ve enjoyed a Christmas story that isn’t familiar to everyone. One Christmas movie I’ve watched several times is The Christmas Card. In it, U.S. Army Master Sergeant Cody Cullen is serving in Afghanistan when a fellow soldier gives him a Christmas card from a church in that soldier’s hometown of Nevada City, California. Somehow, the sincere words of that card bolster Cody despite the violence around him. After the soldier who gave him the card is killed, Cody goes to visit his widow in little Nevada City and accidentally meets Faith, the woman who penned the Christmas card… (I could say more, but I don’t want to spoil it for those who haven’t seen it. Just trust me, this movie has a warm, feel-good ending.)

How about you? If there’s a book or movie involving Christmas that you especially like, please comment below. Give us the title, and maybe a brief word about why you like that story. Sharing now will give others a chance to see it in the 7 weeks before Christmas. 

P.S. In case you’ve never seen The Christmas Card, here are two links. The choice is yours: Watch it in English, or in Russian!

In English: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6GBAtOxyhEk

На русском: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OzXMZ2AsGRk

Catch-up Interview with Author Rick Barry

Today I have the pleasure of being interviewed on the blog of the Indiana Chapter of American Christian Fiction Writers. They wanted to know such things as how I enjoy writing and editing full time, how I accomplished a foray into writing screenplays, and more. Interested? If so, here’s the link!

http://bit.ly/2G6HH5B

Blessings to you!

Rick

 

“Send me a copy of your book.”

amailSince this hasn’t happened to me lately, I hope to address this topic without embarrassing anyone.

Recently I noticed a comment someone left on a writer-colleague’s Facebook page. Under a post my colleague left about the book she’s diligently writing, someone from her Friends list told her, “Send me a copy of your book” when it gets published.

Now, the commenter who made that (firm) request probably believed he was leaving a compliment: she was creating a story; he wanted the finished version. In reality, he was being rude and unthoughtful. Why? Because instructing a friend to mail you a freebie copy of a book (or anything else) is not appropriate.

Think about it. A writer sacrifices hours, weeks, months of his or her life to sit in front of a computer creating a story out of nothing. It’s a tough job. Sometimes the imagination runs dry. Sometimes the writer would rather be out with friends or even enjoying a movie. But a vision of the finished goal–a story so well crafted that readers will plunk down their hard-earned cash to buy a copy–keeps the writer motivated. Then, at last, the day comes when all the obstacles of writing, revising, editing are conquered and the dream becomes a reality… The book is born!

Then what happens? Most readers understand they must buy a copy if they want one. But occasionally someone blurts (or writes), “Send me a copy.” What this minority fails to understand is that authors don’t mystically receive printed and bound copies of their novels as boxed blessings that descend from the skies. No matter whether a book is produced via a traditional publishing house or independently by the author, even the author must pay something to receive copies of the finished project. Other than limited promo copies a publisher might provide, they’re certainly not free, not even to the author. So, instructing, “Send me your book” is about the same as saying, “I like you; buy me a gift that has cost  you both time and money so I can enjoy it for free.”

Do people who create jewelry for income have friends who say, “I like your work; send me a necklace”? Or does a new restaurant owner have people sit down and say, “I’m proud of your hard work in becoming a business owner. Give me a free meal”? I hope not.

Of course, most or all of the authors I know do sometimes give away gratis copies of their books. Sometimes they provide them to well-known individuals who might influence others to buy a copy. Other times they gift a copy to special friends or new acquaintances just for fun. Each time, the gift costs the givers. But these writers count the cost and enjoy the chance to give away an unexpected “part of themselves” for nothing in return.

So, on behalf of authors everywhere, please never say to one, “Send me your book,” unless you make clear you’re ordering a copy like anyone else. Expecting one for free isn’t a compliment; it’s an imposition.  Your compliment will be when you ask the author to sign it, or when you leave a glowing review online!

 

Radio Interview with Author Rick Barry

Triumphant LivingI enjoyed being interviewed for radio by Beth Stewart of Triumphant Living Ministries. We discussed my inspirational World War 2 novel The Methuselah Project, writing, and Christian living.

You missed the interview? You can still hear or download it using the link below. Blessings to you!

http://bethstewartministries.libsyn.com/interview-with-rick-barry-the-methuselah-project

 

 

The Methuselah Project on the INSPY Award Shortlist

I’m pleased and excited that The Methuselah Project has made the shortlist for the annual INSPY Awards. Winners will be announced June 28, but no matter what happens, it’s an honor to be in the final running.

From their site: “Recognizing the need for a new kind of book award, the INSPYs were created by bloggers to discover and highlight the very best in literature that grapples with expressions of the Christian faith.”

Office-Desk-2

2016 INSPYs Shortlists Released

April 30, 2016—The INSPYs Advisory Board is pleased to announce that the following books have been shortlisted in the fifth annual INSPY Awards. Recognizing the need for a new kind of book award, the INSPYs — http://inspys.com — were created by bloggers to discover and highlight the very best in literature that grapples with expressions of the Christian faith.

Debut

The Thorn Bearer by Pepper D. Basham | Vinspire Publishing

Jaded by Varina Denman | David C. Cook

A Noble Masquerade by Kristi Ann Hunter | Bethany House

Love’s Rescue by Christine Johnson | Revell

Irish Meadows b y Susan Anne Mason | Bethany House

 

General Fiction

A Cup of Dust by Susie Finkbeiner | Kregel

The Art of Losing Yourself by Katie Ganshert | Waterbrook

Secrets She Kept by Cathy Gohlke | Tyndale

Wat er From My Heart by Charles Martin | Center Street

The Bronte Plot by Katherine Reay | Thomas Nelson

 

Contemporary Romance/Romantic Suspense

London Tides by Carla Laureano | David C. Cook

The Dandelion Field by Kathryn Springer | Zondervan

Crazy Little Thing Called Love by Beth K . Vogt | Howard

A Love Like Ours by Becky Wade | Bethany House

The Wonder of You by Susan May Warren | Tyndale

 

Historical Romance

The Wood’s Edge by Lori Benton | Waterbrook

Not by Sight b y Kate Breslin | Bethany House

The Mistress of Tall Acre by Laura Frantz | Revell

Luther and Katharina by Jody Hedlund | Waterbrook

Through Waters Deep by Sarah Sundin | Revell

 

Speculative Fiction

The Methuselah Project by Rick Barry | Kregel

Heir of Hope by Morgan L . Busse | Enclave Publishing

The Shock of Night by Patrick W. Carr | Bethany House

The Curse of Crow Hollow by Billy Coffey | Thomas Nelson

Embers by Ronie Kendig | Enclave Publishing

 

Mystery and Thriller

The Last Con by Zachary Bartels | Thomas Nelson

A.D. 33 b y Ted Dekker | Center Street/Hachette

Vendetta by Lisa Harris | Revell

Falcon by Ronie Kendig | Shiloh Run Press/Barbour

The Bones Will Speak by Carrie Stuart Parks | Thomas Nelson

 

Literature for Young Adults

Season of Fire b y Lisa T. Bergren | Blink/Zondervan

Shades of Doon by Carey Corp and Lorie Langdon | Blink/Zondervan

The Choosing by Rachelle Dekker | Tyndale

An Uncertain Choice by Jody Hedlund | Zondervan

Siren’s Fury by Mary Weber | Thomas Nelson

 

The innovative INSPY Award is designed to help readers in their search for the preeminent faith­inspired literature of today. The INSPYs were created to select and showcase books with the highest literary standards that grapple with the Christian faith. To find these works, the INSPYs net is cast wide, accepting nominations of books aimed at the Christian bookstore market as well as those from the general market.

The winners of the 2016 INSPY awards will be announced June 28. In the meantime, http://inspys.com will feature author interviews to introduce readers to the creative minds behind these books.

Contact: InspyAwards@gmail.com