Tag: Writer

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 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.

Sharpen Your Writing Skills!

Using Twitter to sharpen your writing skills?

But I don’t want to deal with the politics, vitriol. and hatred on Twitter!

Well, you don’t have to.

Yes! Twitter is in the news a lot. We hear about the vitriol and hate some express on Twitter. We hear about the censorship of conservative voices, and now we have just heard Twitter is banning all “political” ads.

It is easy to get caught up in the noise. And, I must admit I have been caught up in it a time or two … or three … or perhaps even four, myself.

However, I am going to try to work on that. Just be choosy in who or what you “follow.”

Now, about those writing skills …

sharpen your writing skills

One thing I really do enjoy on Twitter, is the supportive writing community. And I do participate in several, what I call “prompted Micro Fiction.” How it works is you get a daily word prompt, and you have the length of a Tweet to write a story, poem, or whatever you feel like writing. It is actually quite fun, and it does truly help sharpen your writing skills. I really like the #vss365 writing challenge.

Here a some examples I have written:


#lucid

“Damn! Clovis, that’s one hell of a shiner you’re sporting there! What happened?”

“The old lady asked me if her yoga pants made her look fat, Clem.”

“And, you said yes?”

“Damn, Clem, I didn’t want to lie to her!”

“Not one of your more #lucid moments, Clovis!

#vss365


#strike

Day-umm! Clovis! That’s one hell of a bruise!”

“Yep! It’s part second degree burn too!”

“Dude! What happened?”

“Well, guess I shot my mouth off at the old lady, Clem.”

“So, a bruise and a burn, Clovis?”

“The #strike came while the iron was still hot, Clem.”

#vss365


#verify

“What did the cops want Joe?”

“They needed to #verify where I was last night. There was some kind of upscuddle at the strip club. Told em I was with you.”

“But I was in that upscuddle Joe!”

“The cops don’t know that Clem.”

“I can #verify you’re an idiot Joe!”

#vss365


#second

“Listen Joe, there are two things life taught me.”

“Really? What’s are they Clem?”

“The first is that bills always travel through the mail much faster than checks.”

“And … the #second?”

“Never take a sleeping pill and a laxative on the same night.”

#vss365

Then sometimes, I even let my “romantic fool” side show …


#mystery

I will never understand the #mystery that is a woman’s heart!

She said to me once, “never underestimate the blackness that can be found there,” and then together, we had five of the best years of my life.

Turns out, I should have listened.

#vss365


#longing

There is a longing that cuts deep, to depths of my very soul. I live to again hear her voice, that wonderful laugh, to see her smile. I miss the stars that danced in her eyes. I pray that I will again feel the warmth of her loving embrace.

#vss365


#bottle

I looked over at her, finishing her last shot of Tequila, a sour look on her face.

“What’s up?” I asked. “Don’t #bottle that shit up inside. Let it go! Get it out in the open!”

She did! All over my brand new Nikes!

#vss365


So think about giving it a try!

Some of these Tweets got a really great response. But regardless, it is a lot of fun and a simple way to find out what other people, strangers, think about your writing.

Don’t forget to check out Serpents Underfoot and Adirondack Bear Tales, available at Amazon.

And for other interesting posts, click here!

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King

Stephen King is a master of the craft!

While 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.

Authors Often Need Resources. Fiverr Can Help!

authors

Sometimes, new authors need help getting started

New authors are often overwhelmed with all the things involved with finishing that first book. Are you an aspiring author? Do you have all the resources you need to make that first novel a success? Let me turn you on to a great site if you don’t already know about it. Fiverr.com is an online community of creative people.  There are folks who do graphics and designer, digital marketing, writing and translation, music and audio, programming and tech, business, and fun and lifestyle. The name Fiverr probably stems from the fact that most sellers have a base gig that only costs $5.

Alice Osborn Webinar

I first heard of Fiverr during an online webinar given by Alice Osborn, a Writer/Editor. The webinar was on social media marketing for self-published authors. While Fiverr was not a topic of the webinar, Alice Osborn did mention that she used Fiverr for her own projects. I was intrigued and decided to check Fiverr out.

Self-published Authors

At the time, I was coming along on my first novel, Serpents Underfoot. I had written an author’s bio and a book description. As I perused Fiverr, I discovered a seller who wrote book descriptions designed to help you sell your books. I went a head and ordered a $5 book description to see what this seller was doing and how my book description compared to his. It was a learning experience. The seller’s book description was good. No problem there. I even gave him a tip. I discovered, however, that is was really no better than mine. So, after thinking about it for a few days, I set up a sellers account and started doing book descriptions.  I have since added two other gigs.

Book Descriptions

I have written about 16 book descriptions so far. The have included books on deer hunting, slow cooker recipes, gall stone remedies, dark poetry, adult coloring books, Various self-help books and various works of fiction. I started the second gig a bit later writing martial arts fight scenes for other writers. Because of my long history of karate training, I seem to have a knack for writing pretty realistic fight scenes with sound karate technique. I have done three so far and have enjoyed doing them. I create a third gig which involves editing the work of other, but so far … no takers.

Qualifications

What qualifications do I have? Well, for one … I think I could read before I could walk. My parents instilled in me a real love for reading. As a result, I have read my whole life. Starting with Dr. Seuss and moving on to history, military history, historical fiction, fantasy, sword and sorcery, I also like to write and have written most of my life as well. As a youngster, I even enjoyed playing on a typewriter! As a student, I enjoyed doing papers in school and always got good grades on writing assignments. When I attended college, I took many literature courses including Old English literature, Russian Literature and a technical writing course as well.  I received excellent grades on any paper I did including my Master’s thesis.    Authors - typewriter

Things I have Written

I have written several student training manuals for the dojo I owned and ran for about twelve years. Any dojo marketing materials were also written by me. I’ve had several letters to the editor published in the Clinton Courier as well as the Daily Beacon, the student publication for the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. I have technical documentation for processes in several of the jobs I have worked. For the last 12 years or so, I have also been a blogger. I started with a conservative blog, which was eventually rolled into this current website/blog. I guess I may have mellowed a bit over the years. While I am still pretty darn conservative, I try to see other view points and to also blog about non-political things such as writing, books reviews, and my German Shepherd, Sophie.

What does the future hold?

My Novel, Serpents Underfoot, is in its final editing stage and will be released this fall.  I plan to release it as a paperback, a hard copy and on kindle as well. Once that is underway, I currently have plans for three more books.authors - serpents underfoot

Next Project

While I do not want to give too much away, my next project is going to be a collection of letters from WW II. No, I did not write the letters. But the letters are real, and they a beautiful to read. They are letters written between a GI stationed in Japan during General MacArthur reconstruction period and his wife at home with their young son. These letters offer a look at a period of time many of us have forgotten about. It was a tough time, a time of sacrifice and hardship. But, is was also a time of love, caring, and looking out for other people.

After that?

Then I have plans to do a book on what it was like growing up as a stutterer. Last, I have an in progress Isshin-ryu Karate history and training manual I need to complete. Then, who know … I may circle back and do another adventure in the life of the main character in my novel.

What does these last few sections have to do with Fiverr?

Not a whole heck of a lot, except for the confidence writing as a seller on Fiverr has given me. I am finding out that people actually like what I write. So far, I have completed 19 Fiverr gigs and am working on my 20th. I have 18 reviews, 16 of which were 5 Star, one was  a 4 1/2 Star, and one a 4 star. That is the motivation I mentioned earlier in this post. Fiverr provides tools and motivation. So, for all you aspiring authors out there … Fiverr just may be a great place to start.