Category: Books By DC Gilbert

Montagnard Update, May 19th

A little progress each day adds up to big results!

I had a great call with my editor this afternoon, and I was excited because I was finally going to see the edits she had made to Montagnard. Unfortunately, this turned out to be precisely what did not happen. There will be a delay of a couple of days.

However, we did go over some of the notes she had jotted down during her editing process. For example. there were comments like:

  • Pace and flow are very good. Great character development. Good detail, but not overboard. No Fluff.
  • The narrative speaks to the reader. Good dialogue. Shows, not tell. Likes the word “however” a bit too much. (Corrected)
  • Great how friendship is developed among the team members.
  • Romance is good, well-done. Didn’t make me roll my eyes!
  • Spaghetti and meatballs are Italian/American. Won’t find in Northern Italy. (Corrected)

I was flabbergasted when she said, “I would put this work up against the top writers in the genre. The book is fantastic – very well written.

So then, what is the hold up, you may ask.

Montagnard is now being reviewed by subject matter experts!

My editor comes from a Navy family – with a long history of military service and many retired military friends. It seems she thought the book was good enough that she wanted to share it with some subject-matter experts and get some feedback from them.

So, Montagnard is now in the hands of several clandestine readers. I can’t say anymore, or they might have to kill me. That would not be good because I want to write a few more books.

One expert has responded, stating, “It doesn’t bother me.” And, according to my editor, that is very high praise indeed. This particular person doesn’t normally like to read stuff like this because it usually upsets him, leading to comments like, “They wouldn’t do that,” “You couldn’t make that shot with a rifle like that,” or simply, “That’s bullshit!” We are awaiting feedback from the remaining three. Hopefully, in the next day or two.

While I was initially disappointed by the delay. I am now thrilled. Folks, I really think it’s going to be pretty darn good. I do hope you will want to check it out.

I’ll keep you posted.

Montagnard Release Update

I just got an amazing update from my editor!

And it made my entire year! I should have the edited copy back by the end of the week and will soon be able to schedule the release date. It is a struggle to be patient with this process. While I seem to have endless patience with other people, I have never been very patient with myself. I am learning, however.

My editor is Beth Kallman Werner, the Founder and President of Author Connections, and author of Real Women’s Stories 2018. Real Women’s Stories is a collection of stories written by strong, independent women. It tells the tales of mothers, daughters, women who survived violence and abuse, built empires, traded routine for adventures, honored their families, and share thought-provoking stories that give new meaning to the term “going home.”

About Montagnard …

It seems the whole world is on hold for a bit. Thankfully, books carry on! I’m finishing up the first round. The book is fantastic.

… I’m thankful that even in quarantine, I can be outdoors in a private space … Thank you for the distraction of MONTAGNARD. I’ll always remember what I worked on this year.

Beth Kallman Werner

So, thank you, Beth, for the great comment and encouragement. I can’t wait to get the book back and continue on with the publishing process. And for those who are willing to give Montagnard a read, I really think you will enjoy it.

I believe Montagnard will read well as a stand-alone novel; however, a few sections might make a bit more sense to the reader if they have first read the book, Serpents Underfoot. Granted, it was my first, and there are a few uneven spots early on, but it smooths out nicely and is still a great read.

Check it out here!

The Belgium Connection!

Adirondack Bear Tales has gone international!

Adirondack Bear Tales has gotten some great reviews from several folks I respect, including Joy Neal Kidney, the author of Leora’s Letters. However, it seems that Adirondack Bear Tales has also now gone international, getting a great review from Denzil Walton, a full-time freelance writer living in Belgium.

Discovering Belgium is Denzil’s personal blog, which focuses on exploring the many wonders of Belgium, offering suggestions for days out, hikes, cycle rides, nature reserves, castles, museums, city trips, and much more.

A few excerpts from the review …

The stories are all short, and there are only eleven, so the entire book can be read in 30 minutes or so. But they are all delightful, easy to read and captivating. Quality rather than quantity!

A 12-year girl comes face to face with a bear during a night-time bathroom break! … The hilarious account of Grandma locking Grandpa out of the car while Grandpa tussles with a bear for ownership of a bag of garbage. The stubbornness of an Uncle who refuses to let the local bear destroy the bird feeder and steal the seeds … a handful of other stories illustrating the close relationship between the people and the bears of the Adirondacks.

The book is well-written … frequently involve the author’s grandparents … ideal for grandparents to read as bedtime stories to their young grandchildren … in my case, as someone living in a country where wild bears disappeared centuries ago, as an insight into a completely different world where a black bear might appear in your garden or even your kitchen!

You can read the entire review by clicking here!

And thank you, Denzil, for the amazing review. It is much appreciated.

Click here to check out some of my book reviews. You might find a few you want to read to help pass the time during the Covid-19 stay-at-home period.

Montagnard: Some Positive Beta Reader Results

I have learned good beta readers are worth the time and effort!

I got the first set of results back from one of my beta readers, and I have to admit, I was blown away and humbled at the same time. Of course, there were some typos, punctuation errors, suggestions for clarity, and perhaps some rewording. But I was pleasantly surprised at the rather small number of errors found in the text. I must give most of the credit to Grammarly!

Will anyone like what I have written?

Most authors can identify with this question. I suppose it gets easier with time and success, but I am still mostly amazed that people enjoy reading my work.

So, I was really blown away by some of the comments made by this particular beta reader, Eric. I know Eric well enough to know that he will give honest feedback and he has done beta reading for other authors as well.

I thought I would share a few of his comments here. They will not mean much until you read the book, but then, that may entice a few folks to take a chance and read Montagnard when it comes out this summer.

Here are some of the positive comments:

  • The story flows well and is an exciting read.
  • Like in Serpents Underfoot, I appreciate reading the many boots-on-the-ground anecdotes and other “Behind the scenes’ experiences of your characters. Especially the reactions of the family members when they learn their daughter has been kidnapped.
  • The experiences of the SEAL team members, their conversations, thoughts, and activities are quite compelling.
  • I was worried if there would be any friendly casualties. Next, I found myself VERY worried about Ajax during the grenade incident.
  • Every time you described Ajax and “a thump of his tail,” it made me grin.
  • There are dozens of terrific one-liners in here (e.g., the Browning .45 spoke twice). I won’t echo them all, but good job!
  • It’s good storytelling, and really, that’s the reason we read.

There was some constructive criticism as well.

1) This one was more a comment than a criticism. Eric said he is not used to short paragraphs, and that took a bit of getting used too. I am not sure I will change that. I kind of like writing in short “digestible” segments and find that I get lost when paragraphs go on and on.

2) There was a confusing section in the third chapter. It was a flashback to Serpents Underfoot and Vietnam during the war, and then a return to present-day Vietnam. Comment appreciated, and section reworded for clarity.

3) I would use a Vietnam Names website to find names for characters in the story. I discovered I had used the same name for two female characters and had to go back and change one of them. Apparently, I missed a few. That has since been corrected.

Four more beta readers to go!

I definitely will use beta readers for every project going forward. The additional sets of eyes are indispensable.

Also, I am using a professional editor this time around. She gets the book after the beta readers are done with it. This should help keep costs down. Good editors are not cheap (as you will discover if you ever try to hire one), so keeping the work the editor has to do to a minimum is a big plus! Especially if you are on a tight budget.

Montagnard: Sample scene

Time: Current. Location: Niger. Mission: Humanitarian.

Dr. Ellen Chang, working for Doctors Without Borders, is trying to curtail a Hepatitis E outbreak among the desolate villages north of the Nigerian city of Agadez. It is a rough region, sparsely populated with hopeless villagers, bandits, and now, al Qaeda, fleeing from the success of American forces based in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria.


Abardek village was the last stop before the team would head back to the drone base outside Agadez. Exhausted, Ellen had treated seventy-three patients so far. There were another seven waiting in Abardek. Ellen saw each one in turn. The hardest to see were young children. The look of hopelessness and hunger in their eyes was almost unbearable. Ellen frowned as her mind drifted home for a minute. So many people in her generation had no idea how damn lucky they are.

People protest over such stupid stuff, Ellen thought. They should experience a little of this life. Life or death, out here, was real.

After Ellen treated the last patient, Norman threw her medical kit into the back of their old Land Rover. At least the hot and dusty day was drawing to a close. Bram stood nearby, keeping a vigilant eye on the surrounding desert. Ellen hadn’t met any mercenaries before this and didn’t know what to expect. He seemed quiet and polite enough, very professional, but there was a detachedness in him that discouraged much in the way of pleasantries.

What makes a man do what he does? Ellen wondered. God, it was hot!

It was so hot and dry that you didn’t even sweat very much. Or at least, it didn’t seem like it. Any sweat evaporated immediately. Ellen took a sip of water from the bottle she held in her hand. She always carried one; hydration was vital in Niger.

And to think I volunteered for this shit! She almost laughed.

Ellen suddenly became aware that Bram was waving her frantically toward the Land Rover. He was yelling something as well. But with his Dutch accent, it was hard for her to make out his words. Then from nowhere, Norman grabbed her arm.

“Come on, Ellen! Run! We’ve got to go now!”  Ellen heard shots being fired and turned to see Bram on one knee, firing the Galil Ace assault rifle he never went without. Her eyes looked in the direction the gun pointed, spotting a group of pickup trucks racing toward their location.

“Oh shit!”

Needing no more urging from Norman, she turned and raced the few yards to the Land Rover. Ellen climbed into the passenger seat as Norman jumped into the driver’s seat and pressed the ignition switch. The Land Rover’s old engine sputtered to life. Norman threw the transmission into gear and spun the wheel, swinging around to pick up Bram. Bullets were flying everywhere. Ellen could now see men standing in the back of the speeding pickups firing their weapons. As the Land Rover moved toward him, Bram dashed toward it, reaching for the rear passenger side door as Norman momentarily hit the brakes. Reaching back, Ellen tried her best to help him in. Bram was halfway into the back when several AK-47 rounds tore into his back. Ellen screamed as his blood splattered over her arms and face.

“Get the fuck out of here,” Bram yelled as he fell back, several more bullets striking his body. He was dead before he hit the sand. Norman stomped the accelerator, heading for the road that led back to Agadez. Bullets slammed into the side of the Land Rover. A pickup truck cut wildly across their path. Instinctively, Norman swerved to avoid hitting the smaller vehicle. The Land Rover skidded to the left, glancing off the side of an old mud-walled hut and careened wildly in the opposite direction. Norman fought to regain control of the Land Rover, correcting for the skid. He overcompensated. The Land Rover flipped over onto its passenger side. The last thing Ellen felt was her head hitting the windshield hard. Everything went dark.


Please leave a comment and let me know if you enjoyed this small selection from Montagnard!

Check out Serpents Underfoot and Adirondack Bears! You might enjoy them as well! Both are available in multiple formats.

Editing Montagnard: The Beta Version

Have you ever used beta readers for a writing project?

For my first novel, Serpents Underfoot, I did not use beta readers. I did the editing myself with a great deal of help from my mother. Neither of us was a professional editor.

Needless to say, it took several content uploads before I had eliminated all of the typos, etc. And, I have to thank several of my early readers for pointing some of them out to me. I think Serpents Underfoot is in pretty good shape now, but you never know, there might be one more typo lurking in the shadows, ready to spring out on some poor unsuspecting reader!

Even as short as Adirondack Bear Tales is (only fifty pages or so), it took two rounds to get it to what I hope is now a typo-free state!

For Montagnard (the sequel), I am doing something new

I have read and re-read the draft of Montagnard several times. I have run through Microsoft Spellcheck and Grammarly several times as well. Unfortunately, I am sure there are still a few typos, punctuation errors, homonyms and homophones, and probably even too many adverbs.

So, sending a copy out to five beta readers is a bit intimidating. While these are readers whose opinions I respect, I certainly don’t want them to think, “Egad! How’d he miss this!”

On the bright side, I am hoping that if there are any plot holes, sections of the story that are confusing, or parts that simply suck, these five individuals will let me know. And the end result will be a much better novel … and a sequel to Serpents Underfoot.

Then the final step …

I figure that once I have gone through all the observations and edits suggested by my beta readers, I will be ready to send the manuscript to my editor for its final edit. When she is through with it, it will surely be ready to publish.

And, while all this work is being done, I should have time for some pre-release marketing, etc., as well as getting started on my next book project, a story of family, love, and sacrifice during World War II.

While you are here, check out a few of my other blog posts by clicking here!

Poll: Montagnard Book Cover

First Cover Design for Montagnard

The sequel to Serpents Underfoot

Here is the first attempt at a cover design for Montagnard, the action-packed sequel to Serpents Underfoot. It was created for me by a freelancer on Fiverr.com

I am working very hard to make this second novel a lot better than my first (which from the reviews … wasn’t that bad).

But I did learn a great deal from my first book, and those lessons learned promise to make this second release just that much better.

That should also include the cover! So, please let me know what you think!

montagnard