Monthly Archives: October 2013

How I Became An Author

How can someone with very little writing experience, all of a sudden decide one day he will write a book and become an author? No different than anyone who decides they want to become a policeman or a fireman, a pilot or even a doctor. You decide that is what you want to do and you take the steps necessary to become what you want to do. Those steps are different of course with whatever one decides they want to do and most of them include an education or specialized training or something else. All of it requires one very important ingredient otherwise you will fail or you won’t be very good at it. You must have a dream or a burning desire to accomplish your goals you are willing to do whatever it takes to achieve them.

Mine was simple. I wanted to write a book. I had an idea for a story that I knew would be so ambitious it would span several books. With absolutely no clue I began doing research on what I needed to do to write a book. I joined writing groups to try and learn some tricks of the trade but was met with disappointment including established authors telling me my sample work was no good and quit while I was ahead. A successful writer in some way seen some potential in me or maybe just felt sorry for me and encouraged me to keep going, not to take the criticism to serious. So I did and I kept going. My first book was redrafted so many times I can’t remember but at the end of the day I churned out a mammoth first book totaling almost 500 pages. I self published the book because let’s face it, no publishing house will touch a new author. The book came out, I was overjoyed! The first big step was to have people read it. It was nerve racking. My family and friends loved it (of course!) but even though it was encouraging I needed to get the book to complete strangers and review houses. When those reviews came back positive I knew I had something and I was off to the races and have since completed the second installment, also at 500 pages and I am in the final stages of wrapping up the third installment.

I will continue to post the mechanics I used to become a writer. Stay tuned!

The Nasty Patrick Benning!

For as much as readers have endeared themselves to the Irish priest Father O’Sullivan character in the Superstars Trilogy, the disdain for the ruthless teenage menace, Patrick Benning is equally as fervent. Readers have seen the character evolve from tragic beginnings to a personality that harbours violence and mayhem.

It has been a rollercoater ride for readers following Benning’s evolution from an orphaned child to a teenager with an unquenchable thirst to kill. It has been both challenging and rewarding developing this character and I used the shock of his actions in the closing chapters of Book One, Evil Rises to setup how this character would play out the rest of the trilogy. Readers will see the character continue to evolve in Book Two, Vasallus until his full circle evolution is complete in Book Three, Songs for Survival.

Do you have a story?

I have always held the belief that EVERYONE has the ability to be a writer and an author. I believe this because I know everyone has a story within them waiting to come out and onto paper. We all have been exposed to our unique set of life circumstances that have given us a blueprint of a story. We may have experienced great triumph and success, tremendous sadness or terrible loss. Maybe we have gone through defeat after defeat but we all share one common thread. These experiences, whatever they might be give us the material we need to write a book. The events that have shaped our lives might just be the inspiration to write a non fiction book that can be shared with the world. It might be that your creativity to write an engaging and entertaining fictional novel could have come through a number of things that have shaped you as a person. Influences from parents, friends or co-workers are just a few of the contributors to your conscious and subconscious mind.

The bottom line is you have a story within you. Its up to you if you want to tap into your inner self and let the creativity flow. How good the story becomes, how long it is, etc is all just mechanical at that point. I knew nothing about writing three years ago, nothing. All I knew is I had a story within me and I wanted to tell it.

How about you? Will you tell your story?

Leaves are Falling!

If you are fortunate enough to live in a northerly climate that embraces the changing of the seasons it is truly a wonderful time of the year. In Canada, this weekend is our Thanksgiving Holiday weekend where we take special care to reflect and be thankful. It is also the weekend that consistently year after year ushers in the first real signs of fall. Just within the last few days the weather has turned noticably cold, the frequent rain mixed with the cold weather goes deep inside of you. Fireplaces get turned on this weekend for the first time to keep all of the house guests that arrive for the holiday, warm and cozy. Halloween decorations begin to pop up along the streets adding another indicator that fall has arrived. Now it is a crapshoot for the next two weeks whether or not the little trick or treaters roaming the streets on Halloween night will be doing so in snow shoes.

It is also the time that people will begin to talk about Christmas plans. As the turkey gets carved this weekend, conversation will include what are people’s plans for Christmas. Personally, I take advantage of the diminishing dry weather after this weekend to scale the roof of my house and install one of my favorite things I love about Christmas, the lights.

The browns, yellows and orange colors of fall are everywhere. Isn’t it wonderful!

Father Thomas O’Sullivan

Likely the most beloved character in the Superstars Trilogy. A highly educated Roman Catholic priest, O’Sullivan exudes compassion, trust and strength. Readers of the series continually ask me his plight in the story. “Does he survive?” or “I love him, please don’t bring any harm to him in the books!” In truth, when writing the series and the character Father O’Sullivan, I also felt drawn to the Irish priest with the iron will and the courage of a lion. It made me feel good writing about him. A hero who picks himself up off of the floor over and over again when he is knocked down, all in the service of others. It begs me the question that I ask myself from time to time. “How do I pick myself up in the face of adversity?” Or “How do I treat others who try to take advantage of or harm to me or the people I care about?”

Doesn’t it feel good to attach yourself or follow people who do great things not for themselves but for others?

2013 – What a Year!

The year 2012, I thought was a great year for me with the release of my very first book, Evil Rises. The next year, 2013 has turned out to be a very special year in my life. Here’s why:
– The year started with my 50th birthday in January! Did I feel any different on this birthday. Of course I did! Was I depressed or down on life because I turned 50? No, of course not but I did recognize the number as a wakeup call that I have completed 2/3 of my life (hoping just half!). A sense of clarity and appreciation for what I have and what I want to accomplish with my life.
– I completed and published Book Two of the Superstars Trilogy, Vasallus. I am very proud and thrilled with how the story picked up from Book One and then taken to the next level. So exciting!
– I got engaged to my sweetheart of three years, Kellie. She is every bit the cliches that are said when describing the one you love. Luck and fortunate only begin to describe how blessed I am.
– I am healthy and so are my family and friends. Another blessing.

Here’s to what remains of 2013!

Errol

My Interview with the Shut Up and Read blog group

Please be sure to visit the Shut Up and Read blog group

Thanks, Errol, for stopping by! When and why did you begin writing? What inspired you?
I have always had an interest in writing my whole life. When I was about 24 years old (25 years ago, can’t believe it) in a cramped little apartment with two little kids I setup an electronic typewriter in my closet, dropped a hanging light on a extension cord over the door and typed away while the kids slept. I have written some marketing articles along the way for trade publications that were published but I have always had a creative mind so the inspiration would have come from that.

How do you come up with the idea behind Evil Rises?
The idea literally just popped into my head in 2007 while I was alone in a hotel room. I was so excited I jotted down all of my ideas that were flowing on hotel stationary. Took me a few years to position myself to actually write it.

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
I will spend a few hours a day squeezing in some writing time but mostly in the evening. In Evil Rises I kept my chapters at least 2,000 words so when I would sit down to write it would always be in the mindset to complete at least one chapter.

How has your environment/upbringing colored your writing?
I was raised in a middle class home that was uneventful and really no one particular thing I can point to that influenced me in my writing. Supportive parents, pain in the ass siblings (just kidding).

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a police officer. Doesn’t all little boys? Well maybe a fireman.

What are you working on now?
I am completing Book Two of the Superstars Trilogy, Vasallus due this September. I am so excited!

Where do you hope to see yourself in the next five years?
I hope to see myself as a full time author, my royalties allow me to focus totally on writing. That would be so cool.

What book are you reading now?
I am reading Michael Connelly ‘The Fifth Witness’ on my Kobo. Big fan of Connelly. I am also into John Sandford and his Prey series. Great stuff.

Reader Comment on Evil Rises

Darlene says: “Mr Barr, To say I enjoyed your book would be an understatement. I could not put it down and at times would be annoyed with my kids for disturbing me. From the very first page, I could not put it down. I am eager to see what you have in store for Avery and Bentley. Surprised they did not hit the sheets yet. Also with the boy Patrick. I kind of thought Robert Best might be watching and say and say something like “chip off the ole block”, ” just like his ole man”. But you are the author not I.

“When I read the last line with happiness and sadness, because I was finished it and did not have the second book, I was very surprised when i turned the page and saw you are a fellow Albertan just like me.

“I have been checking daily to see when your second book comes out. Chapters has no idea. I literally am on pins and needles. I will be the first person too buy a copy. Could you let know. This book is definitely a keeper for me. A devoted fan.”

Evil Rises

Evil Rises opens in 400 AD, as courageous King Tiridates of Armenia and his seven sons, empowered by God, turn back Satan’s plan to stop the spread of Christianity. Ever since this epic defeat, Satan has been plotting his revenge. Now he is ready to unleash a diabolical plan to destroy man once and for all. He will spawn seven children from around the world who will grow into young musical geniuses and coalesce into a superstar rock band. Harnessing the hypnotic charisma of popular music and the power of modern media, Satan will make this supergroup so popular, so influential, that the youth of the world will fall under his spell – and soon everyone else. Satan is convinced faith and courage are powerless against him. But sometimes faith and courage are all it takes to turn everyday people into heroes. In Ireland, Thomas O’Sullivan, family priest to Grew and Katherine McClosky, is horrified when Katherine is raped and visciously beaten. Clinging to life, Katherine gives birth to Chloe, who fills the delivery room with the sound of angels singing. . . .

In Los Angeles, music producer Avery Johnson and journalist Bentley Paxton become suspicious of hotshot music mogul Robert Best, whose strange behavior, and even stranger clients, leave them cold. . . .

Evil Rises presents blistering, page-by-page terror, unexpected heroism, the inside world of pop music and an epic struggle that will leave you clamoring for Book Two, Vasallus!

My Interview & Giveaway with Jess Resides Here

Don’t forget to visit Jess Resides Here

Evil Rises a book I sadly cannot review at the moment being behind is one that I loved the sound of as soon as I read the blurb. It’s author Errol Barr’s first book and so I thought if I can’t review gosh darn I’ll interview the man and give all of you a chance to read it with a giveaway. Errol agreed and he’s not going to give one person a chance no no it’s going to be 20 ebook copies up for grabs.

You’d be nutty not to enter. So read a little about Errol and then add your info into the rafflecopter form. Open internationally and whatever format you like as Errol will work some magic and make a coupon code for Smashwords for the lucky winners.

Please tell us about yourself –

I am from Alberta, Canada and staring at the age of 50 come next year so I felt it was about time I got down to writing for real. Hence the release of Book One of the Superstars Trilogy, Evil Rises. I am engaged to be married to a wonderful lady, father of four and a grandfather of a four year old and an eleven year old. My treasurers.

What are you reading now? –

I just finished Michael Connelly’s ‘Fifth Witness’ this week and looking to start an Indie writer Richard Stephensen’s ‘Collapse’ which I cant wait to read.

Some favorite books and authors? –

My favorite author is Michael Connelly, the best crime fiction write bar none. A close second is John Sandford, I just love the Lucas Davenport ‘Prey’ books.

Have you always been writing or is this a new venture? –

Rise of Satan is the first novel I have written however I have written many articles that have been published by trade publications.

Evil Rises sounds great what was the inspiration behind it? –

Evil Rises storyline came to me in a flash. I was in a hotel room late at night just watching tv and the premise for the trilogy just came to me. Quite bizarre actually. That was in 2007 and four years later I wrote it.

It’s got a great cover too who created it? –

Originally the cover reflected an ancient evil image but I changed it after much thought to a more simple, cleaner look that I carried through into book two and book three. The covers entice the readers I believe to see whats inside the covers. Mysterious and exciting! I love it.

Why horror and do you plan on writing a different genre after the trilogy is complete or do you plan to stick with horror? –

No I am completely switching gears on my next project after the trilogy. It’s a love story surrounded by a heart pounding thrill ride of suspense. I may come back to horror again in the future as I have other great storylines but I am not married to that genre that’s for sure.

When will the second book be available? –

The second installment will be ready to go in the fall and the third book will come out in late 2013/early 2014.