A Moment of Grateful Recognition
Before talking about myself, I'd like to take a few moments to recognize some of the very important people in my life who inspire me and who challenge me to improve my craft.
My wife, Michelle, is the audience I most want to please. From the time we first started dating, she would sit with me while I read my stories to her, and there is no greater motivation than the opportunity to share the work of my heart with the woman I love. Now she's reading my Pandora stories to my son, Michael, and listening to them share my writing is an incredible thrill which simply cannot be equaled any other way.
My most loyal reader and friend of more than twenty-years is Scott Wight. Scott doesn't write himself but he runs fabulous roleplaying games which have honed his skills as a teller of tales. Every one of my stories has been improved by Scott's patient, thoughtful comments. He sees stuff that isn't really ready to be read yet, and not only doesn't complain, he always encourages me to send him more.
Marc Hawkins co-wrote the first two books of the forthcoming Among Us series with me, and the first novel in a new science fiction series, Fissures (also forthcoming). We've been friends since our Freshman year in college when he also started reading my work. Hawk has keen insight into characters and plots which he generously shares and, like Scott, I'm very lucky to have him as a friend and reader.
I learned more about writing from Raymond Hill than any other person. Ray is an extremely harsh critic, but after you realize he's not telling you to throw away your computer and not touch a keyboard ever again, you realize that he's almost always one hundred percent right in his observations. Ray taught me about believing in my imaginary worlds and how to bring the environment to life through the five senses. And I'm still waiting on your novel, Ray! I'm looking forward to reading a great book and sharing some heart felt comments in return.
Finally, I would like to thank Michael McQuillen. Mike and I were friends from the sixth grade until his death on November 4, 1994. We were best friends as kids getting together regularly to hang out, or go backpacking with the Boy Scouts, or play Dungeons and Dragons. But even though we drifted in college, we kept in touch and I sent him all of my stories. After his death when I was visiting his mother, she handed me a thick oversized manilla envelope with all of my stories in them. They weren't crisp anymore. The pages were curled and crumpled as if Mike had read them many times--not just the single reading you owe a friend when they share a work of their heart with you. It was a sign from above that someone out there enjoyed my craft as much as I did and I needed to continue pursuing it. So thanks, Mike, I'd like to think you're still reading my works up in heaven.
Free Read - A Delicate Situation
In 2004 after I successfully defended my PhD dissertation, I decided it was time to get serious about my fiction and try to get something published. In January of the next year, I stumbled across a flash fiction contest at Chizine asking for stories dealing with memory, or maybe it was lost memories. (Ironically enough, I can't remember precisely which it was.) I knew nothing about Chizine, but wrote the following 500 word story and submitted it anyway. Since Chizine focuses on very dark horror, they weren't interested in this piece, but I've always liked it anyway. You can read it here.
My Author Blurb
Gilbert M. Stack has been creating stories almost since he began speaking and publishing fiction and non-fiction since 2006. A professional historian, Gilbert delights in bringing the past to life in his fiction, depicting characters who are both true to their time and empathetic with modern sensibilities. His work has appeared in several issues of Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, Mundania Press, and elsewhere. He lives in
My first professional fiction publication was a story called Pandora's Luck and it tells the story of a bare knuckle boxer named Corey Callaghan who gets in to some trouble with his trainer, Patrick Sullivan and a lady gambler named Pandora Parson.
At the end of the story, Corey, Patrick and Pandora decide to leave town together and ride straight into several other adventures. They've just accepted the thirteenth story in the series--Pandora's Hoax.
The cover to the left illustrates my third Pandora story--Pandora's Journey.
Who Do I Read?
I've been reading on my own since kindergarten so this list represents only a handful of authors I'm enjoying right now. I'll keep changing the authors around. For a more complete glimpse into what I think of authors, please see my reviews on Goodreads.
John Ringo is a versatile author of science fiction, urban fantasy and military fiction. He has a unique voice--a brash cynicism which often makes me smile. His plots and the backdrop to his works are intriguing and his characters really stick with me. These are books I've reread again and again and despite my determination not to repurchase books for the Nook that I own in print, a large number of John Ringo's books have found their way onto my electronic reader. My favorite series of Ringo's include Special Circumstances, Black Tide Rising, Ghost, Troy Rising, and now, Monster Hunter Memoirs which he writes with Larry Correia. You can see more about Larry below.
I first discovered Larry Correia through his Monster Hunter series--an intensely enjoyable look at how the U.S. might deal with werewolves and other creatures of the night if such things were actually out there but few people actually realized it. They are fast paced, cynical and tons of fun. His Grimnoir trilogy looks at magic in the 1930s with a definitely hard-boiled atmosphere that mixes historical fiction and urban fantasy. He's well worth your time if you're looking for well thought out worlds with fast paced adventures and lots of action.
I'm quite the fan of urban fantasies--which should be no surprise as I write them--and Patricia Briggs offers one of the freshest worlds out there. Her heroine, Mercy Thompson, is a small shape changer (a coyote) in a nasty world of werewolves, vampires, and fae. Thompson is not your typical female hero. She's a mechanic who likes to get her hands dirty, but she doesn't just tough it out when she gets into trouble, she has to be very smart to survive in a world of bigger and nastier predators. The first book in the series is Moon Called.
I've always enjoyed military science fiction and David Weber has several extremely satisfying series. He's best known for his Honor Harrington works starting with On Basilisk Station. They're a mixture of very strong action and a well woven political backdrop which gives the series it's staying power. Over the course of the series, Weber has managed to develop heroes we can relate to on all sides of his conflicts as good people get caught up in the larger galactic problems. Of course, he also manages to put villains we love to detest on all sides of the conflicts as well.
Other Weber series starters that are well worth your while are March Up Country (with John Ringo) and Off Armageddon Reef.
Nick is an extraordinarily talented man. He's written what is hands down the best super hero novel I've ever read. (And I've read more than a hundred and fifty of them--some of them exceptionally good.) Nick has style! His characters burst from the page even more colorfully than in the comic books which inspired him. His novel The Altruist is a must read for anyone who thinks they like superheroes. You can find it online at The Metahuman Press along with others of Nick's stories. He can also be found at A Thousand Faces.
Marion Harmon's Wearing the Cape series is the best super hero series I'm aware of. His world mechanics works better than those of the major comic book companies and each novel boasts not only the growing cast of colorful heroes making up the team roster of the Sentinels, but an even more fascinating set of super villains and super problems for his heroes to handle. It's always a good day when another volume of the Wearing the Cape series is released.