The Young Ace Roberts Adventures Blog – January 2013

I just celebrated my six-month anniversary as a published author. I must admit, the dating process (before I had a clue about the business) was much more promising than the marriage itself.  LOL!

While I entered the relationship with no outlandish expectations, a part of me had hoped that the book would somehow “miraculously” find an audience that would make it an exception, and not the rule.

But like any marriage, you have to work to make it successful. And like any long-term marriage, you have to resolve to commit to make it work for the long-haul.

That said….

The book has done moderately well in the Barnes & Noble stores in Fort Worth. Christmas, and the fact I’m a local author helped in that regard. And…I must admit…it was cool seeing my book on the same shelves as Orson Scott Card and James Rollins’ Jake Ransom books. The last time I checked there were still a few on the shelf, and more were on order. So I will work the local stores to keep that moving.
I will also launch a new author website this year, and offer some signed books by New York Times Bestselling authors as an incentive. I will also engage in some Social Media outlets outside of Facebook designed to spread the word about Ace Roberts. All these should improve on awareness.

But….

a very good friend of mine, and a fellow Seven Realm’s author, tells me that the best selling device that I can do is just write another book. The more books that are out there, the more people will find out about Ace Roberts. And that process is well underway.

The second adventure in the series is building up to be quite an explosive sequel, with some amazing sequences that will pit Ace and his friends against some scary Native American spirits. These nasty guys have their sights set on, not only their destruction, but the United States as well. I can’t wait for you to read Shadow of the Flag.
I hope everyone has a great 2013 – filled with a flurry of Seven Realms novels to keep you busy – and both safety and health.

May God bless

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The Young Ace Roberts Adventures Blog – The Next Big Thing

One of the things that I have discovered since joining the ranks of the “published” is that there exists a brotherhood/sisterhood/amongst its members. This is not a secret society, nor is there anything ominous about it. It is just a band of men and women who share the common honor of being labeled “an author”. An exclusive club, if you will, of human beings who have demonstrated the labor and fortitude it takes to have their work bonded into immortal print. I find this group both exhilarating and a privilege to belong to, and I feel the weight of excellence of the countless writers who preceded me.
This month’s blog is entitled The Next Big Thing. It is designed to not only give you a peek into my next project, but to steer you in the direction of new authors who will thrill and delight you as well. In each case, these are my good friends. They have, in some manner, directly contributed to my success. It should be no surprise, therefore, that my deepest desire is that you follow the links and discover these truly gifted writers. That means, not only check out their blogs and websites, but give their books a try as well. To steal a slogan from professional golf, “these guys are good.”
Here are the links to these other author’s blogs or websites:

http://seanellisthrillers.webs.com/

http://jimmygwrites.com

http://www.goodreads.com/author_blog_posts/3373355-the-next-big-thing-blog-hop

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/23513.Paul_Kemprecos/blog

https://www.facebook.com/iankharitonov

Now to my project:
Here are ten questions and answers that should assist in this.
1. The working title for the next Young Ace Roberts adventure is Shadow of the Flag.
2. The story line came from my desire to write about the importance of understanding your family’s past. I’ve found – from my years in ministry – that the Millennium & i Generation’s have lost the desire to learn and understand the past. Experts believe this is because of the rapid pace of technology – and the generation’s focus on the future. In this story – our hero Ace Roberts is bored and fed up by his history class, until a series of amazing events places him and his friend’s smack in the middle of the Civil War – and he is forced to rewrite history in order to safe the face of his traitorously branded Great Grandfather.
3. The genre is Young Adult – Christian.
4. Regarding casting of my books if a movie were made – I would hope that the movie producers would find unknowns – similar to the search for the Harry Potter franchise.
5. What is a one-sentence synopsis of Shadow of the Flag? A Native American ritual opens the door to an amazing adventure for Ace Roberts and his friends; filled with Indian spirits, Civil War heroes, and an unbelievable connection to the Cuban Missile Crisis.
6. Seven Realms publishing will publish Shadow of the Flag, hopefully in late 2013 – but possibly in 2014..
7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript? I’m still writing. I hope to be finished in a few months. That would make it about 7 months total.
8. The Hardy Boys, and Frank Peretti’s Cooper Kid Series,
9. I was inspired to write this book after listening to an expert speak about how young people are not paying attention to the past, and specifically to their own family’s history.
10. The McGuffin in this book is a black & white photograph of Abraham Lincoln sitting across the table in a Civil War tent from John F Kennedy. The photo is very old – and one that could not have been fabricated as the story takes place in 1962. Photoshop did not exist back then.

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The Young Ace Robert’s Adventures Blog – November 2012

I had the honor recently of experiencing something that only the top Young Adult authors get, speaking to 800 students and teachers about my book Buried Lie. I have frankly attended book signings for New York Times bestselling authors with far less attendance. So, as you can imagine, I did not allow this opportunity to pass by without capturing some great lessons-learned.

First and foremost, this is my target audience. These 5th and 6th grade students are the most likely age group to be my long-term fans. So I took some great advice from the audio narrator of Buried Lie, Barry Campbell, and chose to share the chapter where the kids escape into a cemetary and experirence the Nazi zombies for the first time. I wish I had a head-cam to capture their faces as I read. This chapter was dead on-target (pun intended), and verified I was on the right track for future Ace Roberts adventures.

Secondly, I discovered that the kids liked the fact that the book was easy to read, with short chapters and plenty of action. In fact, when I first discussed the book with my publisher, I told him I wanted  the Young Ace Roberts Adventures to mirror the dime store paperbacks that were popular back in the 1960′s. A few of the kids who had read the book pointed out that the length was spot on. In fact, they verified that Rowling and Riordan books tented to be too long at times.

Thirdly, the chemistry between the main characters was the number one reason a lot of the kids would purchase future books. They saw the hero, Ace Roberts, as a role model they could relate to (even though the book takes place in the 1960′s), and especially liked the fact that he struggled to discover his faith. Both of these points were goals I set when writing the manuscript. A few adults who had read the book prior to the event, pointed out that the chemistry between the three teens was real. They liked the clever and witty dialogue, and especially the age-appropriate romance between Ace and Debra.

My take-away from this event, and the reason I’m sharing in the blog, is capturing feedback from your audience can be a priceless tool for an author. These occasions, whether in the form of a book signing, or in a one-on-one conversation with a fan, should not be taken lightly. Obviously, you will not follow every point of advice, but you should take advantage of the ones that make sense for you. I am definetly taking the feedback I got from this event while writing the next Young Ace Roberts Adventure, Shadow of the Flag.

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The Young Ace Roberts Adventures Blog – July

Publication month has finally arrived. It has been an awesome journey getting to this defining moment. Many have accompanied me to get to this point – for almost a decade now. I believe it was 2004 when my wife, Carol challenged me to enter a writing contest on Simon & Shuster’s Clive Cussler Forum. Through that effort, I met a number of people who have become life-long friends: Jim (Papa Jim) Patke, Riana Swart, Pete Ragan, Lara Marchesi, Ian Kharitonov, and Michael Shriver to name a few. I then met members of the Clive Cussler Collector’s Society who have also joined those ranks, Wayne Valero, Bruce Kenfield, Jimmy (JD) Gordon, and a number of others. The really cool thing, though, is counting authors Clive & Dirk Cussler, Jack Du’Brul, Paul Kemprecos, Grant Blackwood, Graham Brown, Jeff Edwards, Sean Ellis, and Kent Holloway as friends as well.

Along the way, many that I have mentioned above have read various drafts of my manuscripts. They have contributed ideas, thoughts, and critiques along the way. I will forever be in their debt!

Although I did this privately some time ago, I publically place this in the hands of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Any success comes at His hands. As previously mentioned in an earlier blog, 10% of the proceeds will go to sending needy kids to Christian summer camps. I just got back from two weeks of camp with 2nd & 3rd graders, and 4th and 5th graders. They were a blessing to me, as they worshiped and honored God. As a Children’s Minister, I can’t ask for anything more!

Until next time, God bless and keep reading!!

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The Young Ace Roberts Adventures Blog – June 2012

My guest-blogger this month is New York Times Bestselling Author Graham Brown. Graham is the author of The Eden Prophecy, Black Sun, and Black Rain; and the co-author of Devil’s Gate and The Storm with Clive Cussler. I asked him to share his thoughts on writing action adventure in the 21st Century. I think you’ll find it provoking and quite entertaining:

The Trouble With Technology
It was a dark and stormy night…
Well, as Snoopy so eloquently wrote, once upon time it actually was a dark and stormy night and that meant trouble. But in today’s day and age the hero will have night vision goggles to see by, a computer controlled GPS guidance system to get him or her through the storm on course and a comfortable ergonomically designed chair to sit in while they do it.
Technology has forced changes everywhere in the world, and – unless one is writing a historical novel – writing is no exception. Especially if you are keen on writing thrillers.
Take the sixties spy novels for instance – or the movies for that matter. Sean Connery era James Bonds had to steal blueprints, take pictures with tiny film cameras and watch out for listening devices – but they were easy to find as even with room for poetic license they were clumsy tape recorders or devices the size of a soda can. You can see them yourself at The Spy Museum in Washington D.C., where you’ll find all kinds of things that make you laugh – including an East German conference room where everything – chairs, tables, everything – was made of clear Lucite so that any American attempt to place a bug would be easily spotted. It reminded me of the cone of silence from Get Smart.
Nowadays, a bug can be the size of a pin head, a camera the size of a button. Voices can be recorded by bouncing a laser off the window of the structure that someone is meeting in; no need for a bug at all.
And that’s just the character’s problems – what about our problems as writers? I mean it’s our job to get these guys into situations that seem impossible to get out of. But how do you do that in today’s interconnected, linked up, GPS, Satellite phone equipped world?

In Black Rain I faced that problem.  I wanted my characters out in the jungle cut off from civilization and on their own.  But how to do it when one phone call or shortwave radio call would have brought them help?  Well, I used the time honored system developed to perfection in the old Star Trek – I made the transporter – er, the radios and satellite phones that is – break down once they got out there in the jungle.  (As a brief aside, would you beam down to a hostile planet knowing how often that thing breaks down? Even in the 24th century there are government contractors I guess.)

But of course it’s not as easy as saying – hey the phones and radio don’t work, you have to have a reason why they don’t work. So looking for this reason I discovered that EMP’s (Electro Magnetic Pulses) of a high powered nature will destroy transistors and fry circuit boards, the more advanced types being more vulnerable. So I wrote that into the story. But then I had to come up with a something that was making these EMP’s. So I did, and I wrote that into the story and then suddenly the story began to revolve around these new items instead of what I had originally intended it to do. It made for a better, more compelling book – and I think that’s always the case when the difficulties are actually part of the main plot.

My most recent novel is The Storm, co-written with Clive Cussler.  This book was so much fun to work on.  Clive and I spent hours talking about the technology of micro-machines and Nano-bots and what they could do if ever fully developed.  We bounced ideas around as to how to work this into the plot, and then we spent a lot of time talking about the human element of the story.  Because technology is fine, but if you’re not careful it can overwhelm the characters.  (Case in point – the later Star Trek’s where they often saved the day by finding a new way to modulate the shield frequencies. Those kind of answers always leave a reader or viewer flat IMHO.)

Clive and I obviously didn’t want that to happen, which is why – without spoiling the ending – you will find in The Storm a deliberate contrast between the heroes and their low tech solutions and the villains and their high tech attacks.
In a way it’s slightly metaphorical of the struggle to maintain one’s humanity in the face of overwhelming technology. And it’s also darn good fun. Like when something breaks and you give it a whack and it starts working again. We all love to do that.
And maybe that’s the key in some way. Technology has made it easier to write techno-thrillers and harder to write genuine characters, but the opportunity always hides itself within the challenge. If it’s harder for us as writers and harder for our characters it also raises the stakes and makes the victory all that much sweeter.
Thanks to Kerry and all the readers of the blog.
My website is www.grahambrownthrillers.com
I’m also on Facebook.

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The Young Ace Roberts Adventures Blog – End of May 2012

Greetings everyone,
I mentioned in my last blog that I would have some “guest” bloggers leading up to the publication of Buried Lie: A Young Ace Roberts Adventure on July 17th. I’m very proud to announce that my first guest blogger will be New York Times Bestselling author, Graham Brown. Graham is the author of several great adventures on his own, Black Rain, Black Sun, and The Eden Prophecy. But he recently gained additional notirieaty by joining Clive Cussler in co-authoring the most recent NUMA Files Adventures – Devil’s Gate and next week’s release of The Storm. It’s the release of The Storm that we’ll celebrate and hear from Graham about. Look for his guest blog the first week of June. I’m excited – and I hope you will be as well.

In the meantime, I hope you are taking advantage of the other great books that are now available from Seven Realms Publishing. Books like Nicholas Tanguma – Sons of God and Daughters of Men; Rick Nichols – The Sheltering Tree, and Hy Conrad’s – Rally ‘Round the Corpse. And for sheer adventure, you will thank me later after you read Sean Ellis – The Adventures of Dodge Dalton on the High Road to Oblivion.

Until we meet next with Graham’s guest blog – keep reading!

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The Young Ace Roberts Adventures Blog – May 2012

Well, here we are two months out from the launch of Buried Lie: A Young Ace Roberts Adventure. July 17th is the official publication date. That just so happens to be my sister Holly’s birthday, so how cool is that?

I have begun some initial marketing activities for the launch. I now have a Twitter account, @KerryFreyauthor. I will be launching some give-away contests exclusively on Twitter, with some cool give-aways. Look for some signed hardback novels from a couple of New York Times Bestselling authors named Cussler and Silva as part of that campaign. So please “like me” on Twitter and look for that in June.

I also have a Facebook author page – Kerry Frey – Author. I have ran a contest on it called Guess The Character. I have included one of the drawings from the novel’s official artist – Christian Troels Tverno Guldager that will be inside the book. If you are first to correctly guess the character – you will get a free signed copy of Buried Lie. I’m about to publish a second drawing that does not contain a character – but is just too cool to not share. If you are not already a fan, please hit the “like” button and become one.

I also plan to have some guest bloggers on this site soon. One that I am especially excited about is my good friend and author – Tony Eldridge. Tony is the author of The Samson Effect – a great novel that Clive Cussler called “A first class thriller brimming with intrigue and adventure”. But Tony also is an expert on Marketing Tips for Authors – so we’ll pick his brain about the state of the industry – and tips for getting your book seen.

The final bit of marketing is one I’m very passioned about – and one that I hope takes off and makes a difference in young kids lives. I’m not ready to officially announce it yet – but the goal is to create a non-profit organization focused on sending kids to Christian camps. As a Children’s Minister, making a difference in young people’s lives is my passion. In that regard, I ask for your prayers that God blesses this endeavor.

Until next time, keep reading!

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The Young Ace Roberts Blog – February 2012

We are about four months from the July publication of Buried Lie – the first Young Ace Roberts adventure. The book cover by Christian Troels Tverno Guldager is amazing – it was way beyond my expectations. He is currently working on several black & white drawings that will introduce key scenes inside the book as well. I can’t tell you how honored I am to have his artistic talent a part of this project.

The editor is making last minute polishes – and we will soon undergo a small, but hopefully aggressive awareness campaign. As part of that, I will be launching my author Facebook page in the next few days – and I’m considering joining Twitter. I’ve learned through my association with the Adventure Writer’s Competition – sponsored by the Clive Cussler Collector’s Society – of the power of social media in today’s world. If handled properly, you can reach an infinite audience in a manner that was not available to prior generations of authors.

I’m asked quite often what Buried Lie is about, many times in situations where I don’t have a lot of time to respond. I’ve had to develop a common tool in business, a short and concise response that gets the point across quickly. It’s called an “elevator pitch”. Here is the elevator pitch for Buried Lie.

I’ve always been fascinated with the fact that there were no major battles on US soil during World War II, and that the Nazis never found the site of the atomic bomb facility in Los Alamos, New Mexico. But what if the Nazis were so close to discovering the Manhattan Project, that Roosevelt ordered a top-secret facility built to divert their attention in another direction. And what if as a result of that construction, that an amazing, powerful discovery of biblical proportions was unearthed. So powerful, that to this day it is buried deep and protected by our government with military forces. Buried Lie takes place fifteen year after the end of the war, at a time when Nazi war criminals and Cold War spies were still very much a threat to our society. It centers around a kidnapping of a Yale Professor of Theology, and a rescue attempt by his fourteen year old son, Ace Roberts. The teenager, along with his girlfriend Debra and his best friend Brian, will face unimaginable horrors as they journey to edge of existence to uncover the truth behind … Buried Lie.

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The Young Ace Roberts Adventures Blog

Hello, and welcome to my blog.

(insert image of Fred McMurray from the old TV series My Three Sons)

The 1960′s were an amazing time to grow up as a child in the United States. The Camelot era of the Kennedy’s was one filled with hope, achievement, and a true sense of adventure around every corner. President Kennedy’s immortal words “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country”challenged a generation of young people to reach new heights and kick aside barriers standing in the way.

I hope to introduce a whole new generation of young readers to that wonderful time through the publication of Buried Lie, and a series of follow-on adventures that fourteen-year old Ace Roberts and his friends will undergo.

In each, a mystery or twist about history from that timeframe will be revealed that will hopefully entice the reader to scratch their head and ask the question “could that have happened, or has the government lied to us all these years?”

As well, each adventure will incorporate paranormal happenings, while focusing on Christian themes and centering around the importance of family. That might appear a strange combination at first, but actually blend together for quite an exciting premise when put onto the pages.

So, strap on your seat belts and get ready for an exciting ride as we race together toward the publication date of Buried Lie in July 2012. I hope you’ll be as excited to read and learn about Ace and his friends as I have writing it.

Until next time, keep reading my friends.                                                                             Kerry Frey October 2011

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