Category: Montagnard

The Response to Montagnard

I continue to be blown away by the response to my newest release, Montagnard. It is mindblowing, motivating, and humbling, all at the same time. I just received another review from an award-winning author I respect and whose work I enjoy reading.

While the response to my first book, Serpents Underfoot, was mostly positive, and it has gotten some excellent reviews, it was also my first book. So I know there were some rough spots and a lot of room for improvement. It did receive some “mediocre” reviews, and a couple of reviews really blasted it.

The truth is that it was Lee Boyland’s review of Serpents Underfoot that help motivate me to continue writing and begin this second book, Montagnard. Especially after a couple of those harsh reviews. While Lee stated that there was certainly room for improvement, all the elements of a great story were there, and that he felt I would improve with time. For that reason, this review has a great deal of meaning to me.

Below are a few of Lee’s comments on Montagnard. You can read the entire review by clicking here. I hope you will read it, and then check out my book. The reason I write is that I love to tell stories, and I would really like to hear what you think about it.

A great story continues

The author has written a great sequel to his first novel, Serpents Underfoot. Two generations of warriors, the father, a special forces officer fighting in Vietnam, and his son, a SEAL master chief, bring to life a story that began in the highlands of Vietnam, circled through Africa, the Middle East, Thailand, and then returns to Vietnam. Bravery, valor, honor, comradeship, revenge, and love with realistic combat and martial arts scenes kept this reader enthralled and turning the pages.

….. The story has believable characters (including strong women and a dog that I loved). ….. The Bangkok bar, Obsession, is a hoot.

The author does an excellent job of describing battles in Vietnam, Africa, and the Middle East. Readers with no military background will gain a feel for what modern limited combat is like. I found the plot, geography, weapons, and people believable. And I can’t wait to read the next book.

Lee Boyland, Award Winning Author

Thank you, Lee. I really appreciate your support!

And be sure to check out Lee Boyland’s book on Amazon as well. I reviewed one of them here.

Montagnard Receives a 5-Star Editorial Review

The Prairies Book Review just gave Montagnard a pretty awesome review.

In this swiftly paced, thrilling second installment in Gilbert’s The JD Cordell Action series, the situation, the enemies are new, but the heroes aren’t: JD Cordell and his four-legged companion Ajax return to take readers on an exhilarating journey to Vietnam for a rescue mission.

After completing his last mission in Niger, JD is ready to retire with his K9 partner Ajax. But after his father’s unexpected death, Mai, JD’s mother, travels to Vietnam to see her adopted brother Dish, a Montagnard rebel who is on the Vietnamese government’s most wanted list, and accidentally steps into a blood feud between her brother and a powerful Vietnamese drug lord. JD must come to Vietnam and face the vicious enemy.

Despite the book’s high action theme, JD’s relationship with his four-legged companion remains heartbreakingly personal throughout. Gilbert weaves the multiple plot threads with skill and effortlessly moves his protagonists through a series of explosive combat zones. The characterization is first-rate: Ajax is real enough to touch, and JD with his passion, intelligence, caliber, and sensitivity make for a worthy hero. The action is first-rate and the plotting intricate and clever. A horde of twists and nerve-wracking action scenes mark the final battle between the vicious enemy and JD’s team.

You can read the rest of the review here! Still waiting to see what Titan Literary and Kirkus have to say!

I may have to get a bigger hat!

Montagnard receives a second 5-Star review!

I was very humbled and honored to receive another 5-star review for my new release, Montagnard. This review is especially meaningful to me because it is from a fellow author who is also a Vietnam War veteran.

And Glyn Haynie is not just any veteran. During his 20-year career, he was awarded the Silver Star, Purple Heart, two Meritorious Service Medals, three Army Commendation Medals, three Army Achievement Medals, the Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm, Vietnam Service Medal, Combat Infantry Badge, French Commando Badge, Drill Instructor Badge, and Army Recruiting Badge.

I would bet that he probably has seen or had dealings with the Montagnard people while serving in Vietnam.

In full disclosure, I have read most of his books, and if you are even remotely interested in the Vietnam War and its veterans, I highly recommend them. His works include both memoirs and works of fiction.

Here is an excerpt from his review …

A must-read for anyone that read Gilbert’s first book, “Serpents Underfoot.”

I was happy that the author decided to write a second book about JD Cordell. The trip back to Vietnam was surreal. The characters were well developed and believable. The story centers on JD’s mother, Mai, returning to Vietnam to find her adopted brother, Dish, and she is kidnapped. JD and Ajax, with members of his SEAL team, head to Vietnam to find them.

Glyn Haynie

If interested, you can read this and other reviews here!

I hope you will check Montagnard out! The Kindle version is now available, the paperback will be in stock any day now, and the hardcover will be available July 1st! Click here to visit Montagnard on Amazon.com

Montagnard Paperback Release!

I am proud to announce the release of my new novel, Montagnard!

The paperback version of Montagnard is now available at Amazon.com. The hardcover will be available June 30th. It should also soon be available online at Barns & Noble and Books-A-Million.

In addition, it has received its first review … 5 Stars.

This review is special to me because it is from someone who very much enjoyed the story despite not being a huge fan of the military action genre. This reviewer found several threads in the story that she enjoyed even though the language and action were a bit outside her comfort zone. You don’t know how much I appreciate that. You can read the entire review here!

Action thriller indeed …

… If you enjoy details about martial arts and weaponry, combined with a well-woven thriller, you’ll enjoy this. I was more taken with a couple of threads of the story that hinted toward redemptive outcomes after such scenes of human despair left behind after the Americans pulled out of SE Asia.

Joy Neal Kidney

Thank you, Joy, for the honest and great review.

Your support is truly appreciated.

You can order your very own copy of Montagnard, by clicking on the links below!

Kindle

Paperback

Oops! Minor technical difficulty with the paperback copy. My apologies! Should be available later today! My fault … not Amazon’s.

Hardcover

Please, if you enjoy the read, take a minute to write a review and let me know what you thought.

And, I hope you will take the time to check out some of my other blog posts by clicking here!

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!

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