Thursday, March 19, 2015

How I Got to Where I Am and What a Crazy Ride It’s Been

by Daniel J. Barrett

I have absolutely no business publishing a book at age 66 but here I am. How did I get here? Is there anything worthy to share with my fellow writers?

I’ve had a varied career over many decades. I was in banking. I worked for an international manufacturer, traveling worldwide as the manager of planning. Marketing said I was the only finance person who spoke English and not finance. I went on to become a financial consultant and grant writer.

I wasn’t any more prepared for writing grants than I was for writing books when I started. Being a grant writer meant reading 10 newspapers a day and keeping current to win financial awards. I made the grants readable so anyone could understand my proposals and their goal--to serve the most at-risk youth. It worked. We won $200 million dollars to help kids. Learning on the job paid off.

Six years ago, I decided that I was tired of television, other than watching baseball, and I started reading books. I’ve read 1,600 books over that time. Why? I wanted to learn what made a great book fun to read. I’ve read over 450 different authors. Were they all good? No, but a publisher thought they were. It was their decision.

Two years ago, I took the plunge and began writing novels. I’ve always learned the hard way, so I transferred my fearlessness in writing grants to my desire to create fiction. What I didn’t know about writing novels now makes me cringe. Did you know you’re not supposed to use semi-colons in fiction? I didn’t. Quotations, punctuation, and contractions became a Berlitz course, and when told to fix something. I did. Being pigheaded and stubborn with my desire to publish actually paid off. Here I am.

Like a present from heaven, Black Opal Books sent me an email and told me that Conch Town Girl had promise. I brought the novel up to publishing standards and they gave me a contract. I revised two other books and received another contract. I have just finished my fourth book in two years and will be sending that in shortly. As soon as Conch Town Girl was released, I had to learn the publishing and marketing side of being an author. All while continuing to write grants full time.

What is the point of this blog? Never give up? Don’t worry what people tell you or think about your writing? Be true to your heart? Stay on course? If you start something, finish it?

I wanted to prove that I could do anything I wanted when I put my mind to it. I can. You can. Anyone can. We teach this to at-risk kids. They don’t get an opportunity to have someone tell them they can be anything they want, at age 15, or at age 66. Colonel Sanders, age 65, started Kentucky Fried Chicken in 1955 and sold it 10 years later to John Y. Brown, Jr., the future Governor of Kentucky. Colonel Harlan David Sanders became a multimillionaire and international icon. You can will your way to success. Just try.

Daniel J. Barrett was born in Rutland, Vermont and has lived his entire life in Troy, New York, ten miles north of Albany. He is a graduate of both Siena College in Loudonville, N.Y. with a BS in Finance, and from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y, with an MBA in Management. Dan has had a varied career with extensive international experience, traveling worldwide. You may contact him at

Julie Chapman grew up in Key Largo, a tenth-generation Conch, raised in the Florida Keys by her grandmother, Tillie, since Julie’s parents were deceased. Then one night Tillie has a car accident and ends up in a coma, leaving Julie and her best friend Joe to wonder if it really was an accident. As Julie and Joe start digging for the truth, they uncover some dark and desperate secrets that can not only cause them a good deal of trouble, but also cost them their lives.

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