Tag: Writer

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.