Tag Archives: Fiction

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!

Adirondack Bear Tale #7: The Demise of Old Three-toes!

The Demise of Old Three-toes.

Old three-toes was a very grouch bear.Three-toes was a grouchy, old bear. He was also big for a black bear. Folks around Burketown who occasionally spotted him estimated he might weigh between 450 and 500 pounds. This is fairly large for an Adirondack black bear. You knew when old three-toes was poking around from his distinctive tracks. His left fore-paw was missing the two outer toes, leading of course, to his nickname. Nobody really knew how he’d lost those two front toes. Speculation was abundant. Maybe he’d lost them in a fight with another bear, or perhaps a near miss with some kind of bear trap. Whatever the cause, it almost certainly contributed to his sour disposition.

A couple of camps down Burketown Road from my grandparent’s camp and in the direction of Burke’s Marina, lived a friend of the family. A local contractor and handyman, he’d built the camp belonging to my other grandparents on the lot next to ours near the end of the road. For the sake of this story, I will call him Mike.

As of late, old three-toes had become the frequent topic of discussion up and down the road.  Folks spotted him on the prowl regularly and he’d been getting in to some real mischief, causing damage to camps, screen windows, front porches, etc. So far nothing serious had occurred, but many felt it was simply a matter of time.

On this particular morning, Mike got up early to go fishing. And, living alone, began cooking himself breakfast. He’d opened the front door to his camp to allow the cool, crisp morning air to pass through the screen door. Unfortunately, this also allowed the smell of cooking bacon to waft its way out through the screen door, and be carried along on the same morning breeze. The tantalizing smell of cooking bacon proved to be irresistible to old three-toes who happened to be passing by. The bear turned, and followed the enticing aroma right up to Mike’s camp screen door.

Three-toes decided that the screen door was not going to keep him from getting to that delicious smelling bacon!  Mike heard the crashing sound of three-toes clawing right through the screen door. He turned in time to see the big bear coming down the short hallway to his kitchen area. Mike quickly retreated from the kitchen area and in the opposite direction. He made his way to his den where he kept a loaded 12-gauge shotgun on his rifle rack.

Mike grabbed the 12-gauge and headed back to the kitchen  where three-toes was making quite a mess of things. He yelled at the bear first, hoping to scare it off. He did not really want to shoot the bear. Unfortunately, three-toes was having none of it. This was now his bacon and, as far as that went, it was also now his kitchen. Mike simply had no choice. Taking careful aim with the shotgun, he fired.

While many in the Burketown area were saddened by the death of three-toes, a lot of people slept a bit more soundly at night. It is an unfortunate thing when black bears lose their fear of people. It never turns out well for the bear.

I hope this story touched you, and reminds you why it is so important to not feed the bears. While black bears can indeed be cute, they are still wild animals.

And, please take the time to check out my novel, Serpents Underfoot.

 

Mary Enck: A Review of Serpents Underfoot

Thank you, Mary Enck, for your fantastic review!

Mary Enck is the author of, A King in Time II.

Mary Enck attended UCLA and holds an MFA in Creative Writing. She enjoys reading Fantasy and Science Fiction and has a new love for Mystery/Thrillers. Latest character crush is Jack Reacher. A native of the Colorado Rocky Mountains, and lives in Colorado Springs with her family, a Lab/Dane doggo who says her name is Gillie, and two cats, Lucky and Tuxedo.

Being a long-time fan of the Arthurian legend and having read several versions during my life, I certainly am going to have to read hers as well. In fact, I just started reading it. I am sure there will be a post about A King In Time on here in a little while.

However, the purpose of this post is to thank her for her fantastic and thoughtful review of Serpents Underfoot. Her review left me humbled and speechless.

 

Three Quotes from Mary’s Review of Serpents Underfoot

Author, D. C. Gilbert, takes the reader back to a time that has passed into history. While the era is overshadowed by so much that is happening today, at such a rapid pace, this story reflects how little we have advanced in all this time. We remain in conflict with humans, inflexible in their beliefs.

 

The characters are very strong in their individuality. Again, it is interesting to see the contrasts drawn between the West and influences from another time and another faraway place. I became related to the good guys in this book. I enjoyed their personalities and like them very much.

 

There is a lot of delving into the way of things such as martial arts, Navy Seals and their working dogs, which I especially liked. To me, if there is an animal in a novel significant to the story, it is a relief from the more severe issues that come up.

 

If interested, you can read the complete review here.

 

The novel, Serpents Underfoot, is available in Kindle format for only $3.99.  I hope you will give it a read!

Adirondack Bear Tale #1: Golden Beach

Bear Tales from the Adirondack Park

Adirondack Bear Tale #1: Golden Beach

Adirondack Bear TaleIt was dark at the Golden Beach Campground! When the lights go out in the Adirondacks, it gets pitch black. A twelve-year-old girl squirms in her sleeping bag. Her mother had warned her not to drink that last bottle of Coke Cola before going to bed. She had not listened, and now she had to use the bathroom!

What time is it? She wondered. Can I make it until morning? She did not think she could. Working quietly, trying not to wake her parents or her older brother and younger sister, she got herself ready. There was little chance of waking them, as her father was loudly snoring away. All four slept blissfully unaware. The cool Adirondack nights did make for great sleeping.

Reaching for the flashlight, she kept on the floor of the tent by her sleeping bag; the young girl turned it on. Careful not to shine it in anyone’s face, she unzipped the zipper on the side of her sleeping bag and crawled out. First, she put on the plaid flannel shirt because the night air was quite chilly outside her warm sleeping bag. Next, she reached for the beaded leather moccasins her mom had gotten for her on their last trip to the gift shops in Inlet.

Making her way to the front flap of the big cabin tent, she unzipped the mosquito netting, stepped out, and zipping the netting back; made her way down the path toward the women’s bathrooms. It was a short walk, maybe fifty yards. Golden Beach Campground had several men’s and women’s bathrooms and shower houses strategically located throughout the campground. Golden Beach Campground was a great place to camp. Their family had been camping there for years.

The girl made her way along the path, the beam of the flashlight projecting its circle of light on the ground a few feet in front of her. She was about halfway to the women’s bathroom when she froze. There, clearly defined in the circle of light from the flashlight, were two large black paws. The paws were attached to two somewhat furry black legs. Not panicking, the young girl tilted her light ever-so-slightly upward. Standing in the path a few feet in front of her, clearly framed in the light of her flashlight, was a rather large black bear!

Carefully, the girl lowered the light again until only the bear’s paws were visible. She slowly began to back up a step at a time while keeping the bear paws in the circle of light so she could see if it moved. When the beam of light could no longer reach the bear’s paws, she turned and made her way swiftly back to the tent. Quickly unzipping the mosquito netting, she stepped inside and zipped it shut. In a few minutes, she was back in her sleeping bag, listening to her father snore.

She decided she could wait until the morning after all!

Did you like this Adirondack Bear Tale #1?

If you did like this Adirondack Bear Tale, then stay tuned for future installments, and check out my novel here!

Freedom … And Three Simple Steps to Something Free!

Freedom  And Sacrifice … And Thanks!

giveaway

Memorial Day Weekend Giveaway

Freedom is a wonderful thing, but it is certainly not free. Memorial Day is not a day to honor Veterans who are still here although we certainly appreciate it. Instead, Memorial Day is a day to honor those who give the ultimate sacrifice in the defense of our Freedom. In honor of those who have made this sacrifice, I am giving away free Kindle versions of my book, Serpents Underfoot, over Memorial Day weekend. Starting at midnight tonight and ending midnight on Monday the 28th, the Kindle version of my book will be available to download for free.

A Great Read!

Serpents Underfoot floored me!

Serpents Underfoot is a thrilling, compelling, exciting mystery that will keep its readers hooked from the very beginning. The plot of Serpents Underfoot is thrilling and incredibly clever. Serpents Underfoot is different because at the heart of its story is genuine proudness and respect for the military.

~Red Headed Book Lover Blog

4.5 Out of Five Stars

This novel starts with the deep background story of Cordell’s father when he was serving in Viet Nam. It carries forward to JD Cordell’s SEAL Team and other major characters in the plot. Far more background is developed in this novel than you would normally find. I also liked that the characters are down to earth with no “over the top” scenes of heroic combat.

~ John’s Notes

You can read other reviews (10 Five Star) on Amazon.com or here on my website. There are no strings attached or gimmicks involved. However, if you download a free Kindle version of Serpents Underfoot, enjoy it,  and feel compelled to give me a review on Amazon, I will not complain!

So here are the three steps:

  1. Click on the Serpents Underfoot Link!
  2. Download the Kindle book!
  3. Enjoy!

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King

Stephen King is a master of the craft!

on writingWhile traveling to Washington, D.C. recently, I thoroughly enjoyed listening to the audio-book version of On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King.  I could literally hear Stephen King’s “voice” in my head as I drove to Quantico, VA and then boarded the train to Union Station. That may have been because he narrated the book himself. To be honest, it was not what I expected at all.

Memoir of the Craft

This “memoir” was broken up into several sections, with the earlier sections devoted to different parts of his life. The last sections are devoted to his advice on the craft of writing. The chapters are preceded by three forewords. This memoir was fascinating to listen to. I was amazed by the way that King wove stories of his life, his craft, and advice to new writers together through the pages. It was inspiring to listen to what he went through to become the success he is today and to hear about how he struggled and worked hard for that success.

King’s advice on the “how-to’s” and “what to avoid” were very practical to a new writer. The term “actionable” comes to mind. It was also very interesting to get his views on writing classes and groups. They mirrored a decision I had recently come to. The important thing is just to write, as much and as often as you can. You should also read a great deal. I liked his comments about those who want to be a writer but are too busy to read.

Stephen King’s memoir, On Writing, is a fascinating and helpful book for both aspiring and experienced authors. It explores writing, the writer’s tool box, and the writing life.  I enjoyed listening to this book very much because I have always loved to read  … and now love to write.

On Writing: A Few Tools for the Writer’s Tool Box.

I am not going to go into great detail here. If you want that, read or listen to the book. But here are a few tips that might whet your appetite.

  • Identify your ideal reader. That one person you are writing the story for. For Stephen King, it’s his wife Tabitha.
  • Shut the door each day and keep it shut until your goal is met. Television is a distraction and a great time waster.
  • Plot and theme may not be the “be all and end all” of successful writing. Create a situation and let the story unfold. Let your characters tell you the story.

Hindsight is always 20/20, but I wish I had read his book before starting my novel, Serpents Underfoot. Don’t get me wrong. I think it’s a great read, if I may say so myself. And, everyone who has read Serpents Underfoot seems to agree. In fact, I wrote my novel more or less in the way he describes writing should be done. It is just that there were a lot of tips and advice in his book that could have made the writing process smoother and given me a greater understanding of my initial faltering steps in developing my own skills in this craft called writing. These tips will certainly help in my future projects.

Learning to Own Your Writing Style!

writing styleLearning to own your writing style takes some understanding …

So, how do you learn to own your writing style? I recently was approached by a lady  in a local convenient store. She walked right up to me and said, “I want to tell you how much I really enjoyed reading your book, Serpents Underfoot. I love your writing style. It is so unpretentious and straight from the heart. And, I would not say that if I did not really mean it.”

I was caught totally off guard and a bit embarrassed by her comments, but I thanked her … telling her how much hearing that meant to me. Then I paid for my diet Mountain Dew and headed out the door. On the way to my car, I started thinking about what she had said … unpretentious and straight from the heart. I began to analyze what she might have meant by that.

So, what exactly did she mean by that …

I think that she was saying that my characters are portrayed with refreshing honesty. Especially the main character, JD Cordell. Other authors probably would have left out the influences in his early life such as church and boy scouts. Both of these institutions have come under attack to varying degrees in the world we live in today. But, how could I leave them out? These influences helped shape the man he became in the story. Even his training in the  martial arts, another key influence in his development as a confident young man, is an individual achievement, and doesn’t play well with all the group think and mob rule we see playing out in today’s news. However, these influences created the very foundation allowing JD to become a U.S. Navy SEAL, a true modern-day warrior.

The more I thought about this and looked back at the characters in my book, I realized something. They are, both good and bad, all independent thinkers and individualists who are able to stand on their own two feet. I think that is something the world needs more of. It is something I very much believe … and so, in that way … it came straight from the heart.

And what might this mean for other new writers?

If you don’t love what you are writing and you are not excited about writing it, I think it would be hard to be good at writing whatever it is you are writing. By being true to yourself and what you believe, you can write write honestly, and straight from your heart. Will everybody like it? Certainly not. But will everybody like what you are writing if you are merely pretending? Certainly not!  See … nothing really changed. Except, that if you love what you are writing, you will be passionate about it. And even people who do not like what you write will be able to see that. So, learn to own your writing style. Be true to yourself.