Tag: Arts

Question: Why did you choose to write?

Is it for the money?

An important question. Writing is not a get rich quick scheme. Certainly, there is nothing wrong with seeking to earn a few buck from your writing. I must confess that it was a pleasant surprise when people began to buy my books and actually enjoyed the stories I’d written.

I just like to tell stories. So, the question for me was, how do you know people are enjoying your books? It is one thing to tell the tale! It is quite another thing when people truly enjoy your tales. Probably for me, a reader’s enjoyment is the biggest motivation behind why I write.

Question #2: How do you know people enjoy your writing.

I think this question is answered in several ways. Talking to your readers and asking them for their thoughts on your book is one thing I have done.

There is a real difference between, “I thought it was good” …

and,

… “Dude! I loved it. That part where JD spent the night trapped under the NVA tank rocked” or “that barroom fight scene was totally awesome. I loved that line … ‘my mother taught me!’ “

Reviews can also answer this question …

When a reader takes the time to write a review for something you wrote, that really means something.

1) Either they hated it (I had one reader who hated the fact that I had some adult scenes in Serpents Underfoot so much that he never finished the book and gave me a 1 Star review just so he could vent his outrage.)

2) Or, they liked your story enough to take the time to say so.

The Few, the Proud, the Marines!

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I really loved this review of Serpents Underfoot because it is from a USMC veteran. Getting a 5 Star Review from a USMC veteran for a book that includes all branches of the U.S. military including the Coast Guard, really meant something special to me. Marines are not noted for lightly giving out praise which is why this review does mean so much!

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Thriller

Definitely a five-star adventure. I was hooked from the first page and read it in one sitting. The plot, which revolved around a conspiracy to detonate nuclear bombs in the U. S., includes many unexpected twists and turns. JD quickly becomes the dominant character with Ajax a close second. I’m looking forward to the next book. ~ usmc – mike



Warning: Bears ahead!

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This 5 Star Review of Adirondack Bear Tales made me chuckle. This reader obviously enjoyed the stories and even took the time to write a carefully crafted and entertaining review! Very cool! And, very much appreciated.

Reviews like this are one of the main reasons I enjoy writing. This reader clearly enjoyed this short collection of bear tales from the Adirondacks!

5.0 out of 5 stars Could not stop reading these tales


Adirondack Bear Tales is a first-class collection of gripping encounters with Ursus Americanus. Gilbert enjoins readers with the inviting and entrancing aspects of the Adirondacks, only to rapidly transform each tale into a suspenseful and terrifying experience! Suitable for all ages, I could not put this 42 page book down. Adirondack Bear Tales is a superlative blend of family, nature, humor, and fright. ~ Eric Ewald

Pursuing reviews for the sake of pursuing reviews is probably not the best use of your time as a writer. Above all, you need to be writing. However, it doesn’t take too many reviews such as these to give you a good feeling about what you are doing! In addition, reviews such as these can be very motivational!

To read other posts on DC Gilbert’s blog … click here!

Cookbook Review: Gourmet Cooking for One or Two


Cookbook author and blogger: April Anderson

Full Disclosure

This cookbook by April Anderson is amazing!  But before I tell you more about it, I need to disclose the fact that April Anderson is an acquaintance of mine. We frequented the same dog park in Cary, NC for awhile before she moved back to New Mexico. While my German Shepherd, Sophie, and April’s Golden Retriever, Feynman, pretty much ignored each other (probably because Sophie is entirely focused on tennis balls), April and I shared a few interesting conversations about blogging, writing, writing tools, authors, etc. As I understand it, April got started with her blog called Girl Gone Gourmet in 2009 and this fantastic cookbook grew out of that original endeavor.

As far as the review goes, I solemnly swear that the fact that I know April in no way clouded my judgement when it came to reviewing this cookbook. That was entirely in the hands of my stomach … so to speak.

Back to the cookbook!

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I received my copy of April’s cookbook on November 29th and since then have tried three recipes. These were the One-Pan Chipotle Macaroni Beef, the Smoky Bacon Mushroom Soup, and the Steak House Dinner. All three of these recipes were absolutely delicious and perfect for me as a single adult parent of a GSD.

The fact that I did not share any of these three dishes with Sophie also says something about  recipes as well. Sophie still does give me the the “evil eye” over that from time-to-time.

The Smoky Bacon Mushroom Soup would serve two, but I have to confess I did not get two meals out of it. Only because it was that good. The Steak House Dinner and One-Pan Chipotle Macaroni Beef each nicely serve one person. And again, both dishes were excellent and plenty filling. The instructions are clear, easy to follow, and the prep times are very reasonable, even for someone with a busy life-style.

The great thing is that many of the recipes also include the entire meal. For instance the Steak House Dinner included instructions for the steak and the two sides … roasted potatoes and blue-cheese spinach.

All three recipes I have tried so far easily deserve 5 Star ratings. And, I am immensely looking forward to trying other recipes in this amazing cookbook! I heartily recommend this cookbook to any single person or couple who loves good food. You no longer have to eat out at restaurants to get it. Gourmet Cooking for One or Two will make preparing wonderful meals in your own kitchen a snap. Leftovers will be a thing of the past!

More information

April Anderson foundedhe blog Girl Gone Gourmet in 2009. Her recipes are featured on CountryLiving.com, Chowhound.com, Self.com and Buzzfeed.com, among others. You can order this cookbook from Amazon.com.

Check out other great blog posts here!

A guide to positive life transformation!

Habits: Your life-changing guide. How to transform your mind, body & life. The 21 Day Plan

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Wouldn’t it be great to see a positive transformation in your mind, body, and life in just 21 days?
Can you succeed in 21 days? While it certainly can take longer, depending on circumstances and personality, to form lasting habits, studies show that 21 days is a reasonable minimum to begin establishing your new healthier lifestyle. Just view these 21 days as the first in a series of small consistent steps toward a new, happier, and healthier you.

At its core, transforming your life is about taking responsibility for the areas of your life over which you have control. However, this book is not about quick fixes. Real transformation is about working through your “storms” to become stronger. It is about developing an attitude of mastery over yourself.

Dr. Vidhya Kumaranayakam has developed a robust program designed to kick start your personal transformation!

In Habits: Your life-changing guide, How to transform your mind, body & life, Dr. Kumaranayakam shares her professional perspective as an experienced Doctor and Clinical Director for Mental Health and Learning Disabilities on creating positive habits in your life. As a Board Member and Lecturer for the esteemed Royal College of General Practitioners, Dr. Kumaranayakam brings real expertise to her 21-day kick start program.
In this fantastic book, Dr. Kumaranayakam outlines her remarkable program. This program is designed to help the reader develop new positive daily routines, better self-discipline, and healthier eating habits. It is a program she developed, tested, and succeeded with herself

In Habits: Your life-changing guide, you will learn:

• How to achieve a transformational mindset.

• Secrets to reducing stress.

• Training habits designed to awaken your inner warrior.

• Guidelines and recipes for deliciously healthy eating.

• Keys to creating new and healthier life habits.

• How to leverage your new habits to maintain your transformational process.

My thoughts …

While I have not actually tried the author’s program, it does seem to be practical, and based in real medical science blended with a holistic approach to healthier living. I may give this program a try and see what happens!


About the author

transformation

Dr Vidhya Kumaranayakam is a Medical Doctor in the UK with over 10 years of clinical experience. Vidhya trained at Barts and The London Medical School. She has a background in Academic Medical Education, and has served as an Examiner and Lecturer for several London Medical Schools.

Currently, Dr. Kumaranayakam is a practicing GP and works in the National Health Service (NHS) based in London, previously having been a Partner for 5 years. Vidhya sits on the board and is a Lecturer for a Faculty of the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP).

Dr. Kumaranayakam also serves as the Clinical Director for Mental Health, Learning Disabilities, Audit, London Hospital contracts, Medicines and Research and other disciplines, for a North West London NHS Clinical Commissioning Group.

She is passionate about promoting mental health, a healthy lifestyle, functional and integrative medicine, and practices mindfulness regularly.

In addition, Vidhya enjoys spending time with her family, cooking healthy food, dancing, singing, and travelling.  When not researching resilience and positive psychology, emotional intelligence, and lifestyle medicine, she enjoys watching re-runs of the Fresh Prince of Bel-air.

Coming soon! A link to buy will be posted as soon as available!

ON THE BATTLEFIELD: A Book Review

ON THE BATTLEFIELD: A Memoir of an Ethiopian Airborne Soldier

On the Battlefield: A Memoir of an Ethiopian Airborne Soldier tells the incredible story of one of Ethiopia’s most celebrated combat generals.  

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Brigadier General Tesfaye Habtemariam is one of Ethiopia’s greatest military leaders. General Habtemariam’s career spanned three decades and survived three different Ethiopian governments. From 1964 to 1991, he commanded troops on the battlefield in nearly every engagement in which the Ethiopian military saw action.

Drawing on his wartime journals, notes, letters and memories, Habtemariam discusses his childhood and military career. From working with Israeli commandos to form a new “Special Forces” unit to establishing the Anti-hijacking Office.  From training several Ethiopian Airborne Battalions to commanding several large units, Habtemariam served his country as only a true patriot would.

This fascinating memoir details military actions on the battlefield as well as covert operations behind enemy lines and includes detailed diagrams, battle plans, and photographs. General Habtemariam shares details of the heroic escape in which he and his few remaining men, half-starved and out of ammunition, prepared to fight to the death. Charging the enemy position with fixed bayonets, they discover it suddenly abandoned. The enemy just pulled out! Now, instead of dying in battle, they find themselves struggling to cross a dangerous desert wasteland to rejoin their forces … hopefully living to fight another day.

Tesfaye Habtemariam took part in eight major battles. He later commanded a battalion in the Special Forces, the 18th Mountaineer Division, and the Airborne Training School.  Finally, he became the Army Commander of the Tewodros Force. Brigadier General Tesfaye Habtemariam received the “Hero of Ethiopia” medal from a grateful nation after thirty years of selfless sacrifice and service to his country.

If you enjoy military history, this is one book you will definitely want in your collection.

A fascinating read!

battlefield

I received an advance release copy of this book and found it to be a fascinating read. It provided a window into a military history I previously knew so little about. This book is not just the memoir of an Ethiopian military general and hero. It is also  the story of Ethiopia’s attempts to rebuild itself. Ethiopia struggled to reshape and regain its independence from European administration after the Italian invasion and occupation during World War II.

In addition it is also a story about sacrifice, honor, victory and yes, even defeat. It is about bureaucratic incompetence, individual heroics, and a people willing to die to defend their brothers-in-arms and their country.

There is an interesting flair to the  narrative. This  makes it a different yet enjoyable read. Originally written by Tesfaye Habtemariam in Amharic, the official language of Ethiopia, it was later translated into English. Therefore, the prose has a unique character, but is very clear and easy to read.  I give this book 5 Stars and recommend it to anyone interested in military history.

Soon to be released

ON THE BATTLEFIELD is now out in Kindle and paperback. 

Check out other great posts and book reviews here!

Contest: Adirondack Bear Tale Book Cover

Here are the two covers in the contest!

Will you please help me with this cover contest by picking which cover you like best for my next book. It is a collection of family-friendly tales about true encounters with black bears in the Adirondack Park! I have two cover designs and both of them are pretty good.

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contest


Below is the link to the poll. Thanks, in advance, for your help!

Click here to go to the contest page and make your choice. 

Again, thank you for your help with this. Also, if you like military action thrillers, check out my novel, Serpents Underfoot, available in Kindle, paperback, and hardcover from Amazon.com!

Home Front recipes from WWII by GP Cox

What a fantastic post!

Check out this great post by GP Cox over at Pacific Paratrooper! A collection of Home Front recipes from WWII. I think I remember my grandmothers making some of these … or at least something very similar.

via Home Front recipes from WWII

Book Review: Echo Volume 1: Approaching Shatter

Welcome to Echo Volume 1: Approaching Shatter by Author Kent Wayne!

Author Kent Wayne does a good job with this first book in his Echo series titled  Echo 1: Approaching Shatter. His writing style is lively and at times humorous. The characters are well developed, and it is truly a compelling story.

Shatter

His book is an interesting look at a futuristic version of humanity. Global warming has made Earth uninhabitable, and now humans live on similar planet called Echo. Governments and corporations have merged and created the Department of Enforcement to crush the Dissident rebels who are fighting to make their lives better. Much of Echo is in a rapidly deteriorating state, but the elite live up in the sky where they can ignore the chaos below … that is threatening to destroy Echo.

In Approaching Shatter, the main character, Atriya, is one of the Department of Enforcement’s highly-trained Enforcers. As a good soldier, he follows orders. However lately, he has been having second thoughts and strange ideas. He wonders about things that he shouldn’t and wants to do something, but is unsure of what path to take. This is the source of the story’s conflict and the narrative unfolds from there.

I do not usually read a lot of science fiction, but I do like military fiction, so I took a chance on it. This book was pretty darn good because it is not just about the action. It also explores the ideas of humanity, courage, strength, bureaucracy run amuck, war, and even religion.

I have one minor comment/complaint. I’ve always loved westerns, especially Louis L’Amour. But I could never get into Zane Gray. That was because Zane Gray included way to much detail. I have an imagination. Let me use it. Echo 1 is kind of that way. Maybe not as bad as Zane Gray!

But I must admit, whether or not there is too much detail, often depends on the reader. Many readers loved Zane Gray westerns. In my novel, Serpents Underfoot, a couple reviews complained I gave too much detail on things like military weapons or tactics. Then again, some readers eat that stuff up.  I guess the point is that a lot of this is subjective and depends on the readers personal preferences.

I haggled over 4 or 5 stars for this book for a few days, and settled in on 4.5 … which rounds off to 5 anyway. Military science fiction readers will love it!

Don’t forget to check out my novel as well!