Tunes for Tuesday: Blues Deluxe

Joe Bonamassa is probably the most gifted guitarist I have ever seen and listened to in my life. I saw him play in Knoxville, Tennessee and was utterly blown away. It was about a three-hour set. In the middle, the band went off stage for a break. Bonamassa just grabbed an acoustic guitar and continued to amaze the audience. I have never before or since heard anyone play an acoustic guitar the way he did.

Mountain Time (Live From The Royal Albert Hall, 2019)

Now that is a grand performance.

Blues Deluxe (2007)

While a blues guitarist, Joe Bonamassa also covers some really great rock as well. However, Led Zeppelin, despite their moniker as the founders of Heavy Metal, was essentially a blues-based band. Here Bonamassa performs one of my all-time favorite blues songs by Zeppelin.

I Can’t Quit You Baby (KTBA Cruise 2019)

Your really need to watch this video to the end. It is freaking amazing! A great showcase of both Joe Bonamassa and Jimmy Page’s guitar virtuosity.

For those of you who, like me, love to take the guitar ride, here is an awesome guitar duel between Joe Bonamassa, Tommy Emanuel, and Josh Smith. Check this shit out!

I will just end this post here … with this great video, Remembering BB King, that Joe Bonamassa did for his mentor and friend, BB King.

If you enjoyed this Tunes for Tuesday post, please take a few minutes and check out some of my other blog posts by clicking here!

And, if you happen to love reading great action-adventure stories, check out my award-winning novel, Montagnard.

Just Stories, Part 2

A word about characters … and character.

Characters …

Many readers who have reviewed Montagnard have made comments about the story’s characters. Here are a few examples.

The action is incredible, the characters are amazing, the storyline is astonishing. It all feels so real, the men, the action, the times, the war.

DD Gott

The story has believable characters (including strong women and a dog that I loved). It draws the reader into the story, a story that covers five decades. The Bangkok bar, Obsession, is a hoot.

Lee Boyland, Award Winning Author

My husband , who is not really a reader finished this book in three days. That being said decided I needed to see why he thought this was such a good read. After I started this book I understood. Characters are so real you become concerned about them. Loved this book.

Kathleen Palazzolo

Gilbert’s enjoyable sequel offers some rousing subplots … But this novel concentrates on fewer characters, such as the returning players Curtis, Mai, and Ajax.

Kirkus Reviews

… a thrilling novel … elevated by intriguing characters … an exotic location … danger around any corner.

Literary Titan

My editor, Beth, commented on the story’s characters several times.

“Great characters.”

“Really laughed a few times … when Pallie ‘is trying to wrap his head around the current situation’ in the club. Humor is authentic and genuine, not trying or forced. Truly funny. These are guys you want to hang out with.”

“Genuine movie potential. Love the secondary characters. Mai, Ellerson, the driver Hung, Hana, Hoa, Jum Y, Poh … like and care about each one of them. Peripheral layers to cast and story. Very well done.”

One of my beta readers also commented early in the editing process that my writing style is very “character-driven.”

So, what is the point of all this?

I lurk in several writers groups. I say “lurk” because I tend to listen-in more than I post. You can learn a great deal as a writer listening to comments and questions of other writers. One surprisingly common thread is, how to create better characters.

Here is my big character “secret!”

Are you ready?

You, as the author, have to love your characters … that’s it.

If your characters are simply “names” filling a spot in the story, you are not doing your characters justice. You have to actually see your characters as real people with real feelings, interests, faults, personalities, etc. I love each and every one of my characters (yes, even the evil bad guys. I love them because they are so easy to hate).

I have seen people posting that this is somehow hard for them to do. I have to admit that I really don’t get that. These are characters in a story you are writing. If you don’t love your characters, why are you even writing the story?

Here is what I do …

Sometimes I base a character on a person I know. I may even ask that person if he or she wants to be a character in my book and get their input on how they see themselves in that character’s role.

Pallie is one example of that. Pallie is based on a good friend, Joe, who worked as a bus driver in New York City until he suffered a heart attack and was forced to retire. Since he could no longer drive the living, he took a job chauffeuring the dead … a hearse. He said, “the dead really didn’t mind.”

Now, that’s Pallie to a T!

Joe is a boisterous, friendly, Sicilian man who is a great friend and would be at your side if needed, just like Pallie. When writing Pallie’s part in Montagnard, all I ever had to do is say, “What would Joe do here? Or, what would Joe say here?” How could you, as an author, not love that character.

One more example is Mai. Mai is a composite of several strong women that have left an indelible impression in my life. She personifies what I respected most in each of those women. How could I, as a writer, not love her character.

This same idea can be found in every character in my stories, even with the secondary characters, although perhaps to a slightly lesser degree.

And what about the Main Character?

JD Cordell is also a composite character. He is the result of combining the character traits I respect most in several men I have come to admire in my life, with some of the qualities I am proud are a part of my character. I guess I could also say that JD Cordell is my alter-ego … if I were Bruce Wayne, JD would be by Batman.

Now, a word about character …

To me, my stories are about character.

First, I guess I need to explain my understanding of character. To me, our character is what defines us at our core. To put it plainly, it is who we are when the “shit hits the fan,” and when no one is looking.

I also believe that too many people mistake learned behavioral tools as character traits. These tools are things like politeness, rapport, charm, or dressing nicely. To me, these are not character traits at all. They are simply tools people can turn on and off as needed.

Even Jeffery Dahmer could dress nicely, be charming, smile, and act politely when it suited his purpose. But I doubt too many of us would argue Dahmer was a man of good character.

Character traits are who we are at our core. They cannot be turned on or off at will. It would take a genuinely traumatic or life-altering event to change a character trait after we are set in our ways (about age 8).

Why does this matter?

It matters because, when you are developing your characters, they need to have consistency. Character does matter. And, sometimes people with good character are forced to do bad things for the right reason, to protect those they love or care about.

JD makes a reference to this near the end of Montagnard, when he says, “I am not a Bible thumper, but I know what I believe. I’m a sailor, and I’ve done a lot of things for which many people would be quick to condemn me. The things I’ve done … well, let’s say I am willing to stand before God and account for them.”

Here is one more example. Many readers have questioned why I did not have Mai kill the villain in the story. After all, I did kind of set it up to look like she might do just that. However, Mai killing the villain in the act of vengeance or retribution would be out of character. While Mai is undoubtedly capable of defending herself or her family (see Serpents Underfoot), she would not hunt someone down to exact vengeance. She would stand for justice and the rule of law.

This has become quite a long post, so I will stop here. I will just sum it up by saying that creating characters that people can identify with, respect, loath, or “hang out with” is a crucial aspect of writing a good story.

My next “Just Stories” post will tackle my thoughts on the theme of “Good vs. Evil,” which is also clearly a big part of both Serpents Underfoot and Montagnard.

If you would like to read Montagnard, now is the time to buy. For a limited time only, the Kindle version is only .99 on Amazon.com.

A Labor Day Celebration for Readers

Okay, its shameless promotion time!

Being locked down over Labor Day weekend is no fun!

So, you need something good to read, something that will grab your attention and keep it!

Something that is so good, that you will not want to put it down!

Bravery, valor, honor, comradeship, revenge, and love with realistic combat and martial arts scenes kept this reader enthralled and turning the pages

Lee Boyland, Award Winning Author

A tightly focused and exciting second installment of a thriller series.

Kirkus Reviews

Gilbert has outdone himself in Montagnard. With its lightning pace, gripping storyline, and well-constructed action scenes … an absolute page-turner. Action thriller lovers will hate to miss this one.

The Prairies Book Review

D.C. Gilbert has crafted a taught military action novel that explores humanity at it’s most vengeful. This is a thrilling novel … elevated by intriguing characters … an exotic location … danger around any corner. A great continuation of the JD Cordell Action Series

Literary Titan

You want something that will cost you under $1.00 …

And here it is … Montagnard!

While this is Book 2 in the JD Cordell Action Series, it stands very well on its own as a great read.

After midnight on September 4th, Montagnard will be only .99 for 7 straight days … ending at midnight on September 11th.

Click the button above after midnight on September 4th or before midnight on September 11th, to get your Kindle copy of Montagnard at this fantastic price.

And you have done, please take a moment to let other know what you thought by leaving a review on Amazon.com. Thank you!

Just Stories, Part 1

Are your books just stories?

One friend recently asked, “Are your books just stories?” She went on to comment that I think you put your finger on a difference when recently you mentioned that redemption would be an ongoing theme in your new book.

She went on to say that my stories are brutal and that she squirmed through both of them … and that she usually quits reading a book when she’s “not having fun” with it. But she found in this last one, in the midst of all of Montagnard’s mayhem, a redemptive thread that wound through the story. This friend did like the way I handled that thread.

My short answer is … no, they are not just stories.

But the complete answer is not that simple. I will attempt to explain by way of an example.

I enlisted in the U.S. Army in July of 1979. The Vietnam War ended in April of 1975. So I missed it by several years, and I count that as a good thing. But I was old enough to later have several really close friends who were Vietnam veterans. And several of my Drill Instructors in Basic and AIT were Vietnam vets. I also served with a good number of Vietnam veterans during my four years of service. And frankly, I was aghast at how these veterans were treated when they came home from doing what their country sent them to do. These veterans were not “for” or “against” the war in Vietnam. A distinction like that only works for civilians and politicians. These soldiers, airmen, marines, and sailors were just doing their job. I quickly became fascinated with the Vietnam War.

A war the soldiers won, and the politicians lost!

As I mention in the prologue to Montagnard, the truth is that the U.S. military defeated the North Vietnamese Army. The Tet Offensive was their last gasp. Later interviews with high ranking NVA officers revealed that they were stunned when the United States pulled out. The U.S. had won the war, but somehow the country didn’t know it. The American media had been feeding the American people a very different story, and far too many bought into it. Public support had dwindled. The American military won the war, but the media and politicians gave the victory away.

Sounds eerily familiar to me …

The Fake News is nothing new

Now there’s a controversial statement for you. But it is a fact. The Vietnam War is the first war where “journalists” were embedded with the troops. Some of them did a great job and honestly reported the facts. But, there were some with an agenda.

We all remember the village of My Lai and Lt. William Calley. The My Lai Massacre was pounded into our heads by the media. And I am certainly not defending that action. However, U.S. soldiers were not prepared for the kind of war we fought in Vietnam, and neither were the American people. This was a war where the smiling young lady selling you an RC and a Moon Pie that day would be trying to slit your throat while you slept that night.

The fact is that mini “My Lai massacres” occurred nearly every day in Vietnam, and atrocities were, sadly, committed by both sides. However, the vast majority of U.S. military personnel served honorably and professionally in a war that they were totally unprepared for and was unlike any war we had ever fought before.

The North Vietnamese Army and their allies, the Viet Cong, subjected the South Vietnamese and Montagnard peoples, and any U.S. service member they got their hands on, to savage brutality that makes the My Lai Massacre pale in comparison. But you would never know that from listening to the news media. I mean, after all, we had Jane Fonda over there being photographed with an NVA anti-aircraft battery and giving a secret message pressed into her hand by an American POW at the Hanoi Hilton to the prison’s commandant!

So what does that have to do with my books?

As I mentioned before, I had several good friends who were Vietnam veterans. I don’t know if it was my personality, my role as a martial arts instructor, or what, but people have always opened up to me. I guess I am just a good listener. Over the years, I learned about some of the things my friends experienced in Vietnam and how they felt about it afterward. And I saw, first hand, how much the betrayal by their own country when they returned home, hurt them.

So, when I read or hear a comment about Serpents Underfoot, by a Vietnam veteran saying something like, “It was so nice to read something that actually portrayed the brutally of the Viet Cong for a change, instead of simply hating on U.S. soldiers,” I feel really good about that.

I don’t feel like I embellish the violence or that it is gratuitous. But, on the other hand, I do not shy away from presenting violence in its “naked” state. I guess you could say I am not very politically correct. If so, I wear that proudly.

Real stories from real people …

One Vietnam veteran in particular, became a really close friend and fellow martial artist. He died a few years ago, succumbing to health issues stemming from several tours in Vietnam. I still stay in contact with his daughter and her family.

Scenes in both Serpents Underfoot and Montagnard are based on stories he told me of his time in Vietnam, where he served as a medic on Long Range Reconnaissance Patrols (LRRP) along the borders with Laos and Cambodia. Another of his stories will be a basis for part of the next installment in the JD Cordell Action Series I am calling Reciprocity.

While I am sure the stories have truth at their core, I do allow for a little literary license on his part to make the stories more entertaining for the telling.

But this is just a piece of my story’s puzzles …

I will share more in a couple of upcoming posts. In the meantime, if you love reading a great action-adventure story, check out Serpents Underfoot, or its award-winning sequel, Montagnard.

Oh yeah!

In celebration of Labor Day, the Kindle version of Montagnard will be on sale for only .99, so if you are interested in reading it, it would be a great time to buy it! And, should you enjoy the book, please take a moment to leave an honest review on Amazon.

Thank in advance!

Tunes for Tuesday: Have Some Heart!

Ah, those Wilson sisters! They sure could rock!

Heart is an American rock band formed in 1970 in Seattle, Washington by Steve Fossen (bass guitar), Roger Fisher (guitar), David Belzer (keyboards), and Jeff Johnson (drums). Heart is actually an evolution from an existing band called White Heart. The Wilson sisters, Ann and Nancy, joined the band in 1973 as vocalists. Also, Nancy became an essential part of the band’s guitar-driven sound.

Magic Man (1976)

The band sold over 35 million records worldwide. They produced 20 top forty singles and seven top-10 albums. They also collected four Grammy nominations. Heart hit the Billboard Charts with singles and top ten albums in the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, and 2010s: a four-decade run of top ten albums that set a record for a female-fronted band.

Barracuda (1977)

I saw Heart in concert shortly after getting out of the Army in 1983. I am not sure exactly which year; that was some time ago. I am guessing 84 or 85. I do remember it being one hell of a show! I remember getting my daughter a Heart cassette tape for a birthday present one year, and being somewhat shattered when her reaction was … “meh!” LOL!

Little Queen (1977)

I have to admit, in my teen years, I had quite a crush on Nancy Wilson. Both sisters were quite beautiful, and Anne sure could sing. Possibly one of the greatest female rock vocalists ever! But there was something about Nancy that stole my heart. I guess it was the guitar!

Listen to this …

Crazy On You

Heart also had a real knack for great Zeppelin covers! Here is one shining example!

Black Dog (Led Zeppelin Cover, 2013)

Okay, can’t end it there. Here’s a couple more!

Heart has graced us with an interesting variety of songs and sounds. Everything from hard rock to heavy metal, and pop rock to folk songs.

Never (Official Music Video)

Heart was a multi-dimensional rock band with great talent … great musicians, great vocals, and great music. In 2006, Ann Wilson was listed as one of the “Top Heavy Metal Vocalists of All Time” by Hit Parader magazine and Heart was ranked number 57 on VH1’s “100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock.”

These Dreams (Filmed 2002, Life in Seattle)

Decades later, and Nancy Wilson still has it!

At the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony on April 18, 2013, the original members of Heart (the Wilson Sisters, Howard Leese, Michael Derosier, Steve Fossen, and Roger Fisher) reunited for the first time in 34 years to play “Crazy on You.”

If you enjoyed this Tunes for Tuesday post, please take a few minutes and check out some of my other blog posts by clicking here!

And, if you love reading a great action-adventure story, check out my award-winning novel, Montagnard.

Lights, Camera, Maybe …

A Montagnard movie? How exciting!

While it is way too early to crack open a bottle of champagne, I am indeed discussing the possibility of a movie based on the book Montagnard with a film production company.

I have been talking to the CFO of an independent film company I was introduced to by a mutual friend. He was receptive, so I sent him a synopsis of Montagnard. He looked it over and pitched it to the CEO. Now they are both interested in the book and researching the possibility. How about that?

These are exploratory discussions on the feasibility of a movie at this point, and there are obstacles to overcome. There could be a thousand reasons why the deal falls apart. To make it this far is motivational by itself! I am excited.

A mentor advised me to proceed thoughtfully but with zero expectations. I think that is a great plan. And precisely what I intend to do.

By the way …

I have experimented with another book trailer, this one for Montagnard. Take a look and let me know what you think. I am trying to decide if I like the idea of these book trailers or not.

Trailer

If you got a kick out of this post, please take a few minutes and check out some of my other blog posts by clicking here!

And, if you love reading a great, award-winning, action-adventure thriller, check out Montagnard! Just click the button below!

Kirkus Strikes Again!

A tightly focused and exciting second installment of a thriller series

– Kirkus

I am seriously on a roll here, and it almost has me worried … LOL … when is the Sword of Damocles going to fall?

But, Montagnard just received a fantastic review from Kirkus Reviews, and I am feeling quite blessed. Both Serpents Underfoot and Montagnard have received fabulous reviews from Kirkus … the mother of all book reviews!

Kirkus does have a reputation for being brutally honest, and just to verify this for my self, I perused a few other reviews on their site and saw the evidence of that. I guess I must be doing something right.

Here is a snippet from the review:

Like the series’ first installment, Gilbert’s enjoyable sequel offers some rousing subplots …

But this novel concentrates on fewer characters, such as the returning players Curtis, Mai, and Ajax.

JD’s story also evolves as the well-established hero suffers more than one loss.

Kirkus Reviews

If you are interested, you can click here to read the entire review.

On a slightly different note …

I would like to “second” a message a fellow author … the author of Leora’s Letters, Joy Neal Kidney, posted on Instagram a short time ago. Reviews are crucial to authors trying to establish themselves and build a reader base. And, by the way, Leora’s Letters is a terrific read! You will want to check it out. I highly recommend it.

Twenty reviews will help get the ball rolling. Another milestone is the 50 to 70 review mark. And, even if you did not purchase a book from Amazon, you can still review it there as long as you have an Amazon account.

Here is Joy’s Instagram post … I don’t think she’ll mind if I share it here.

I would appreciate it as well!

And, if you do love a good action-adventure story, check out the novel, Montagnard, by award-winning author, D.C. Gilbert; and don’t forget to take a minute to leave an honest review!

Reblog: WWII Oldest Living Vet Birthday Card Request–Deadline 1 September

Another great American hero! I’d better get another card!

e-Quips

The following info is from the National World War II Museum’s Facebook Page. Deadline is 9/1. 

Mr Brooks, Oldest LIving WWII Vet Mr Lawrence. Brooks, America’s oldest living WWII et.  Now and then–still looks about the same

This year, the birthday celebration of America’s oldest living WWII veteran Lawrence Brooks will look a little different. With the global pandemic, we must forgo our traditional get together in favor of some socially distanced fun. Mr. Brooks, a New Orleans native, will turn 111 this year, and we are asking everyone to send in birthday cards to the Museum so that we can deliver them to his home. Please send your card to the address below by Tuesday, September 1:

Please send your card to the address below by Tuesday, September 1:

The National WWII Museum
c/o Happy 111th Mr. Brooks!
945 Magazine Street
New Orleans, LA 70130

Watch Mr. Brook’s Oral History:

Read an article from his…

View original post 2 more words

Simple! Just sign up for my newsletter …

I mean, how many award-winning authors do you get a monthly email from?

Well, if you are a fanatical reader, I guess it could be several. But, you could still give my newsletter a try. I promise to do my best to keep it concise and interesting, with updates on current writing projects, book reviews, and upcoming events. And, I promise not to spam you!

My newsletter comes out on the 25th of each month. One email … and you can unsubscribe at any time. Of course, I will try to keep it interesting enough so that you will not want to.

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Tunes for Tuesday: Surrender

There was nothing cheap about Cheap Trick …

Cheap Trick is an American rock band formed in Rockford, Illinois, in 1973. The band’s classic lineup consisted of frontman Robin Zander, guitarist Rick Nielsen, bassist Tom Petersson, and drummer Bun E. Carlos.

Cheap Trick released its self-titled debut album in 1977. Later that same year, the band became a huge success in Japan with the release of its second album, In Color. The group achieved mainstream popularity in the US with its breakthrough album Cheap Trick: Live at Budokan, released in 1979. Cheap Trick reached the Top 10 in the US charts in 1979 with the Budokan live version of “I Want You to Want Me.”

I Want You to Want Me (Live from Budokan)

Cheap Trick topped the charts in 1988 with “The Flame.”

The Flame (Live Dayton, 1988)

Cheap Trick performed live more than 3,700 times and has sold more than 20 million albums. Throughout their career, Cheap Trick has experienced several resurgences of popularity.

One of my favorites in the late 1970s was Surrender. I had a college roommate who could jam this song on his fender Strat!

Surrender (Live From Budokan)

Cheap Trick toured Japan in April 0f 1978. The band was welcomed with a hysteria that hadn’t been seen since The Beatles. During the tour, Cheap Trick recorded two concerts at the Nippon Budokan. Ten tracks selected from both shows were compiled and released as a live album entitled Cheap Trick: Live at Budokan. This album was intended to be exclusive to Japan. Thankfully, sales were not limited to Japan.

Ain’t That a Shame (Live, 1980)

While perhaps you could classify Cheap Trick as a pop rock group, they did branch out into several other styles over their career.

Don’t Be Cruel (Live, 1988)

The band even danced on the fringes of heavy metal with songs like Gonna Raise Hell.

Gonna Raise Hell (Capitol Theatre, 1980)

On April 8, 2016, Cheap Trick was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

If you enjoyed this Tunes for Tuesday post, please take a few minutes and check out some of my other blog posts by clicking here!

And, if you love a good action-adventure story, check out the novel, Montagnard, by award-winning author, D.C. Gilbert.

Hey, that’s me!