Tag: Writing

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!

National Book Lovers Day-August 9

Did you know it was National Book Lovers Day?

Check out this great post on fellow blogger, Pat’s, blog e-Quips!

e-Quips

August 9 is National Book Lovers Day.

I am a bibliophile and have been one since childhood.  In fact, Biblio is my avatar name. Books were my favorite birthday gifts.  A week before I got married I took the GRE  test so I could go to Library School the following year.  (I knew that I wanted to be a Librarian.  But no, we did not get to sit around and read books all day.) Unlike some of my fellow librarians, I never had the urge to catalog my Golden Books.

With so many books and so little time, I’ve turned more into a tsudonko. (Tsundoku is acquiring reading materials but letting them pile up in one’s home without reading them. The term originated in the Meiji era (1868–1912) as Japanese slang. It combines elements of tsunde-oku, (to pile things up ready for later and leave) and dokusho…

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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.

Montagnard Update, May 19th

A little progress each day adds up to big results!

I had a great call with my editor this afternoon, and I was excited because I was finally going to see the edits she had made to Montagnard. Unfortunately, this turned out to be precisely what did not happen. There will be a delay of a couple of days.

However, we did go over some of the notes she had jotted down during her editing process. For example. there were comments like:

  • Pace and flow are very good. Great character development. Good detail, but not overboard. No Fluff.
  • The narrative speaks to the reader. Good dialogue. Shows, not tell. Likes the word “however” a bit too much. (Corrected)
  • Great how friendship is developed among the team members.
  • Romance is good, well-done. Didn’t make me roll my eyes!
  • Spaghetti and meatballs are Italian/American. Won’t find in Northern Italy. (Corrected)

I was flabbergasted when she said, “I would put this work up against the top writers in the genre. The book is fantastic – very well written.

So then, what is the hold up, you may ask.

Montagnard is now being reviewed by subject matter experts!

My editor comes from a Navy family – with a long history of military service and many retired military friends. It seems she thought the book was good enough that she wanted to share it with some subject-matter experts and get some feedback from them.

So, Montagnard is now in the hands of several clandestine readers. I can’t say anymore, or they might have to kill me. That would not be good because I want to write a few more books.

One expert has responded, stating, “It doesn’t bother me.” And, according to my editor, that is very high praise indeed. This particular person doesn’t normally like to read stuff like this because it usually upsets him, leading to comments like, “They wouldn’t do that,” “You couldn’t make that shot with a rifle like that,” or simply, “That’s bullshit!” We are awaiting feedback from the remaining three. Hopefully, in the next day or two.

While I was initially disappointed by the delay. I am now thrilled. Folks, I really think it’s going to be pretty darn good. I do hope you will want to check it out.

I’ll keep you posted.

Do You Need an Author’s Newsletter

Establishing your online author presence

If you are a self-published author like me, you will soon understand the importance of establishing your author platform. This can include building an author’s website as well as social marketing through vehicles such as Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter.

Another vital part of your author’s platform is an author’s newsletter. This is especially important as a self-published author because most of your interaction with your readers can take place through Amazon.com. This is not really a bad thing, just a statement of fact. However, if you were to leave Amazon.com or, while it is quite unlikely, Amazon was to go out of business, they would have the list of your most loyal readers … not you.

It is vital to maintain an accurate and growing list of readers. An author’s newsletter allows you to do precisely that.

Benefits of an author’s newsletter

There are many benefits to creating an author’s newsletter, and they are worth the bit of extra work needed to set one up and keep it going.

  • Perhaps the most crucial benefit is that regular email contact with your readers helps you create an additional connection with them, a relationship that goes beyond your books and your social media presence.
  • A regular newsletter keeps you in your readers’ minds and provides insight into who you are as an author and a person. After all, who doesn’t love to ‘meet’ the person behind the books they like to read and get a peek into the author’s life and creative process?
  • Your author newsletter is also one of the most valuable book marketing tools you have. It helps you get the word out there about your current and upcoming books. It also provides a natural path for readers to click through to purchase your novels.

How frequently do you send your news letter?

I started out with a quarterly newsletter and have published three to date. However, experts say that monthly is the safest option and really hits the sweet spot. Too often and you are spamming your readers. Not often enough, and your readers will lose touch with who you are. Starting in May, I am shifting to a monthly newsletter schedule.

I use MailChimp, but there are several platforms out there that make it fairly easy. Just do a little exploring and see what best meets your needs.

A word on content

You should try to include an exciting balance of content in your author’s newsletter. It shouldn’t be all about you. Of course, your readers want to know about what you are doing if they’ve signed up, but a bit of variety is better and more enjoyable.

Try to include things your readers might find helpful, entertaining, or insightful. Draw on your own interests and expertise to diversify the content you provide.

For example:

  • Recent goings-on: An update on what’s happening in your writing and personal life.
  • For the fans: A section for fans and readers of your books.
  • For the Dreamers: A section on tips about writing and publishing
  • Upcoming Events: A calendar of author events

You can also do things like:

  • Exclusive reveals
  • Upcoming events
  • What you’re reading
  • Writing advice and insight
  • Freebies and bonus content

Promote you newsletter

Promote your newsletter with links on your website, in your social media marketing, and in other ways. Are you having a book signing? Have a newsletter sign-up sheet and a pen on your table.

I hope you found this useful …

If you are interested in seeing what my newsletter looks like, click here to sign up. My next newsletter will be out on May 25th.