Tag: Goodreads

JD Cordell is going international!

I have often wondered about the value, for authors, of Kindle Unlimited.

Clearly it is great for readers!

I mean, having access to read almost everything in the Kindle store for one monthly subscription fee, if you are an avid reader, is a great deal.

Does Kindle Unlimited truly benefit authors?

The response from authors I have heard or read is pretty much split down the middle. About half of the writers love it, saying KU is the source for much of their revenue. The other half claims it is too limiting, and they prefer to have access to other eBook distribution channels.

And I still am undecided because it does lock your ebook into Amazon for your 90-day period of KU enrollment, which renews automatically. However, at the end of any 90 days, you can opt-out. I have not opted-out yet because I haven’t really explored other venues to sell the ebook through.

However, I have discovered that Kindle Unlimited (KU) has allowed me to reach readers in countries I never expected. And, that is pretty darn cool!

I was going over my KDP reports, and I noticed the KU readers from the UK, Australia, and India have read Montagnard. The UK, I expected. I have friends there, and after all, we are two countries separated by a common language. Even Australia was not a huge surprise, I mean, they speak English too .. well, sort of! 🙂

I was surprised and delighted to see people in India were reading Montagnard. That really made my day. I certainly hope they enjoyed it, and I appreciate it very much! I haven’t yet gotten any reviews from India that I am aware of, but perhaps that will come over time.

However, I did recently receive a review from a Goodreads reader who had this to say!

Needless to say, this lady’s review made my day!

If you enjoyed this post, I hope you will take a few minutes and check out some of the other posts on my blog by clicking here!

And by all means, if you enjoy a thrilling, fast-paced, award-winning action & adventure thriller, check out my newest novel, Montagnard. As you can see, it is getting rave reviews!

Just Stories, Part 3

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing

Edmund Burke

That is the short version attributed to Edmund Burke. It is actually derived from a longer work titled Thoughts on the Cause of the Present Discontents (1770).

Defining Good and Evil …

As old fashioned as it might seem, I do believe in good and evil. And I strongly agree with Edmund Burke that for evil to triumph, all that is needed is for good men to sit by and do nothing.

And I certainly understand that the world we live in is not always so black and white. No, I am not racist; I am merely using an analogy that far predates the politically charged various versions of racism we must try to sort through today.

There is a great deal of gray in the world. However, social order and civilization are dependent on defining what lawful and unlawful behavior is. And, some actions are almost unanimously deemed as reprehensible (or evil). These, even in today’s upside-down world, would typically include stealing, murder, rape, slavery, human trafficking, genocide, etc.

Complete pacifism only leads to one of two possible places …

What are those two places? Simply stated, they are slavery or extinction.

You might argue that it is a bit extreme. I argue it is not. History is chock-full of examples supporting this concept, going back thousands of years. And, those who fail to study history are far too often doomed to repeat it.

I have thirty-five plus years of martial arts training. I served in the U.S. military and graduated from the best private bodyguard training school in the United States. I understand what really evil people can do, and refusing to stand up to them typically does not stop them.

I am reminded of a dinner party I was at many years ago. One of the guests was a local radio station disc jockey, and I soon discovered, an avowed pacifist. He asked me how I could justify owning guns and also teaching people how to beat up other people. I simply answered that I do not teach people how to hurt other people. I teach people how to stop people from hurting them or people they care about.

He scoffed at that. So I gave him a scenario (we had just recently had our first home invasion in Anderson County in the news, where an elderly couple was tied to chairs, brutally beaten, and robbed). I asked him if he were home at night with his wife and three young children, and violent people invaded his home with the intent to harm his family, would he just step out of the way because he “did not believe in violence,” or would he try to protect his family?

He thought about that for a minute, then answered that he would have to try to protect them. I then told him that the only real difference between him and me was that I would have much a better chance of succeeding. His final comment was something like, “Wow, you’ve cut me to the quick on that. I have to think about that.”

Sometimes, good people must do bad things to stop evil people!

Strictly speaking, there are no such things as good and bad impulses. Think…of a piano. It has not got two kinds of notes on it, the ‘right’ notes and the ‘wrong’ ones. Every single note is right at one time and wrong at another. The Moral Law is not any one instinct or set of instincts: it is something which makes a kind of tune (the tune we call goodness or right conduct) by directing the instincts.

C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

It is in this quote that we can see the defense for my comment above. The difference for me is in the character of the person and the reason for the act. Yes, good people can sometimes be called on to do bad things to protect those they care about. But they do it out of necessity, not for fun, personal gain, or on a whim. And therefore, they are willing to stand before God and be judged for their deeds.

This is the reference JD makes near the end of Montagnard.  It is also how, in real life, a Navy SEAL like Chris Kyle or Rob O’Neil, or any soldier, sailor, airmen, or marine, would be able to justify to themselves what they do and sleep at night.

Poster for the movie Act of Valor.

Evil does exist in this world. Often, it cannot be reasoned with, appeased, or avoided. Sometimes, it must be faced down. There have been a few instances in my life where I made the choice to stand against evil. I do not regret those decisions and I do not believe God will hold them against me when my time comes. 

My stories, at their core, are about facing down that evil.

The third installment in the JD Cordell Action Series I am calling Reciprocity, will delve into the dark world of human trafficking, which I think any sound-minded individual would consider an evil blight on humanity.

If you enjoyed this little philosophical meandering, please take a few minutes and check out some of my other blog posts by clicking here!

And, if you like reading an award-winning action & adventure thriller, 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.

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.

There might also be an occasion email announcing a special event or offer, but I will keep those to a minimum. Like you, I hate getting spammed.

And … it is so easy!

Just click here to go to my newsletter sign-up form. You will recieve a thank you email with a link to download the EPUB version of Adirondack Bear Tales.

An EPUB file can be read on a PC, MAC, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Android, Nook, Nook Color, Nook Tablet, Sony Reader, and many other devices.

And, should you ever decide to unsubscribe, just click the unsubscribe link at the bottom of any newsletter email, and you will not get it again. But you will still have my gratitude for giving it a try … and still you get to keep the free ebook!

It just doesn’t get any better than that!

Author Interview

D.C. Gilbert Author Interview

Thanks to Thomas Anderson over at Literary Titan for the great author interview. It is such an honor to be featured in an interview by this prestigious literary organization.

An excerpt:

To Regain A Purpose

Montagnard follows an ex-Navy Seal into the seedy underbelly of Ho Chi Minh City to rescue his mother. What was the inspiration for the setup of this exciting novel?

From my standpoint, going back to find her lost Montagnard brother is simply something that a strong woman like Mai Cordell would feel she had to do. First, she would feel she owed her adopted brother a considerable debt. And second, after losing her husband to cancer, she would be looking to regain a purpose in her life. Anytime you have an internal struggle in a country such as the war in Vietnam, there are bound to be unsettled scores and hatreds. Look at our own Civil War in the US. If her Montagnard brother were the fierce warrior and ally to the American Special Forces serving in Vietnam described in the first book in the series, an old feud such as the one in this story would likely exist. Then, what kind of Navy SEAL, retired or not, would not attempt to rescue his mother in such a situation, where diplomatic channels would be all but useless.

JD Cordell is an intriguing and well-developed character. What were some driving ideals behind his character development?

Okay, so I have to admit that JD is a composite character made up of some of the character traits I have that I am proud of, and some of the character traits I admire in others and wish I possessed. While not a Navy SEAL, I am a combat arms US Army veteran and served with the 101st Air Assault Division. I have 35 plus years of martial arts training and graduated from the top private bodyguard school in the US. I have good friends who were Vietnam Veterans, and I have met a few former Navy SEALs. This background gave me a broad framework from which to develop the character of JD Cordell. I mostly pulled the best from all of these resources to mold the kind of man I wanted my main character to be.

You can read the rest of the interview by clicking here!

Please will take a few minutes and check out some of my other interesting blog posts by clicking here!

And take a look at my new award-winning novel, Montagnard, on Amazon.com! It’s getting great reviews!

Kirkus Review: Serpents Underfoot

In for a penny …

My original plan, at the suggestion of my editor, was to submit Montagnard to Kirkus Reviews; which I did. A few days later, I got an email from Katerina at Kirkus, suggesting that, since Montagnard was a sequel, I should let them also review Serpents Underfoot so they would have a better picture of the story as well as me as an author.

While it made sense, anyone who has looked into Kirkus knows that 1) they are brutally honest, and 2) they are expensive. That is because they are the gold standard for book reviews and a good review from Kirkus can open doors and reach a large number of influencers like publishers, agents, foreign publishers, film executives, librarians, and booksellers.

I was hesitant because, while I know Serpents Underfoot is a pretty darn good read (its gotten lots of good reviews), it was also self-edited, and I was sure I would get raked over the coals. It seems, though, that this was not to be the case! Anyway, to make a long story short, I ponied up to have Serpents Underfoot reviewed as well. That was on June 16th. I received the “review completed” notification email today!

Here are a few excerpts …

Resonant characters propel this consistently gripping terrorist tale.

In this debut thriller, a Navy SEAL tries to uncover a terrorist plot.

… Gilbert’s action-oriented tale is dense with characters and personal histories … myriad subplots and backstories are often enthralling.

… All of the story characters are well developed, producing genuine shocks when certain individuals die. The author writes in an unadorned
prose that keeps the plot moving at a steady beat.

… the finale is … exhilarating.

Kirkus

Combine this with the Literary Titan August 2020 Gold Book Award notification on August 3rd, and my feet may not touch the ground for the rest of the week!

Anyone who would like to, can read the full Kirkus review by clicking here!

Serpents Underfoot can be found at Amazon.com

Please will take a few minutes and check out some of my other blog posts by clicking here!

And if you have read Serpents Underfoot, check out its sequel, Montagnard, on Amazon.com! It’s even better!

Holy Moly! I’m an Award-Winning Author?!

I was checking my email late last night before I went to bed, and found an email from Thomas Anderson, Editor In Chief at Literary Titan. I included a few excerpts from the email below.

Literary Titan Book Award

Congratulations!

We are proud to present you with our Literary Titan Book Award. Your book was recently reviewed through our Book Review Service, with that service your book is entered into our Literary Book Award competition. Your book deserves extraordinary praise and we are proud to acknowledge your hard work, dedication, and writing talent. Start telling the world that you’re an award-winning author, because we will be!

Thank you for letting us read your fantastic book.

I was utterly flabbergasted, amazed, and humbled. Beth Kallman Werner, my editor, had told me it was a fantastic book, and that I should enter it for consideration by a couple of reputable book award organizations. So, I did. I guess I just really never thought I would actually place, never mind win the gold!

This is going to take a little getting used to!

I hope you will take a few minutes and check out some of my other blog posts by clicking here!

And also, if you do enjoy an excellent action-adventure story, check out my novel, Montagnard, on Amazon.com! Yep! Yours truly is now an award-winning author!

Literary Titan: Montagnard

It must be shameless self-promotion week!

However, I can’t help it. My editor suggested I send Montagnard to Literary Titan, which while not yet as big as Kirkus, is fast becoming a leader in literary reviews and awards. So … I did.

And 45 days later, this was the result …

Here are a few highlights:

Montagnard has all the elements I look for in a good action-adventure story.

… This is where the novel really shines. JD Cordell is electrifying … I really enjoyed the depth of JD’s character.

The action in this novel is relentless and well detailed.

Literary Titan

If you would like to read the entire review, you can click here!


And I promise, my next post will not be a Montagnard promotion!

I hope you will take some time to check out some of my other “non-promotional” blog posts by clicking here! But, if you do enjoy reading a great action-adventure story, please consider checking out my new novel, Montagnard, on Amazon.com! It’s getting really great reviews.

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.

Happy Veterans Day Giveaway: Thank our veterans!

Kindle give away for Serpents Underfoot!

Happy Veterans Day! In honor of Veterans Day, the Kindle version of Serpents Underfoot will be available from Amazon.com for free on Sunday, November 11th and Monday, November 12th. There are no gimmicks or requirements! However, if you were to enjoy the book and want to give me a review on Amazon, I would not strenuously object.
happy veterans

A few Happy Veterans Day quotes:

I’m trying to raise the awareness of the troops that, when they deploy and go to war, it’s not just them at war – it’s also their family. Their family is having to go through all the hardships and the stresses. ~ Chis Kyle
The U.S. Military is us. There is no truer representation of a country than the people that it sends into the field to fight for it. The people who wear our uniform and carry our rifles into combat are our kids, and our job is to support them, because they’re protecting us. ~ Tom Clancy
The valor and courage of our young women and men in the armed services are a shining example to all of the world, and we owe them and their families our deepest respect. ~ Bill Frist

And, a few Happy Veterans Day cartoons!

happy veterans
Gary Varvel, The Indianopolis Star, garyvarvel.com
happy veterans
Dave Granlund, http://www.davegranlund.com
happy veterans
Dave Granlund, davegranlund.com, politicalcartoons.com

On a more personal note:

We all need to give Veterans Day and our veterans the respect they deserve. Members of my family have served this nation going all the way back to the Revolutionary War. Several of my best friends have been Vietnam Vets. This is not unique and I am sure there are many families like mine. People who love this country and are willing to write that blank check to serve and protect it. When you see a veteran … thank him, shake his hand, or even buy his lunch. He has certainly earned it!