The Indie Showcase presents; Gilbert Stack

Please welcome this week’s guest. Gilbert describes himself as a Historian and Author (Historical Fiction, Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, SF and Paranormal Adventures).

How I Learned to Stop Doubting and Love Self Publishing

Books have long been one of the centers of my life. It started with my mother reading Dr. Seuss and quickly moved on to the Hardy Boys, The Land of Oz, and Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators. These were books that ignited my imagination and made me crave more. By sixth grade I had discovered J.R.R. Tolkein, Edgar Rice Burroughs, and Neil Hancock. The bookstore was a six-mile bike ride and by eighth grade my best friend and I were making the trip every week where I spent my paper route money on new novels and new adventures. In high school I joined the Science Fiction Book Club and my reading horizons broadened even further—Roger Zelazny, Robert A. Heinlein, C.J. Cherryh, David Eddings, and Terry Brooks to name a few.

In high school I also started getting serious about my own plots and my own books and tried to develop interactive stories through role playing games. These weren’t my first ventures into fiction—those stretched back to my imaginary friend when I was still in preschool—but it’s when I first started thinking about becoming a novelist. In college I completed my first full-length novel and I started studying history to enrich my fantasy writing, eventually going to graduate school and earning a PhD. During these years I wrote a lot of stories and started to collect rejection notices, but it was only after I completed my doctorate that my fiction really started to take off.

My first sale, Pandora’s Luck, was to Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine and focused on a bare-knuckle boxer and a lady gambler traveling together in the Wild West.  It was an action-packed crime story and was followed by fifteen others, mostly in the same series.

While the AHMM mysteries began to sell I continued to explore other markets. I sold a superhero story to Cyber Age Adventures, but it went out of business before my tale could be published. That was a common problem with online ebook companies, many of which published my growing library of stories but couldn’t stay in business in the long run. So my urban fantasies—historical and modern—made their debut but didn’t stay around long enough to let me build a following. These collapses were terribly disappointing but it eventually became apparent to me that the publishing world was moving in the direction of the independent author and if I wanted to reach readers I had to learn a new business model.

Now I’m pursuing my dreams self-publishing my work on Amazon and through the Smashwords distribution network. I’m writing fantasy novels like my Legionnaire series which has really taken off. It’s a fantasy series built on an analogue of the Roman Empire (called Aquila) in a world in which magic and the supernatural are very real. The first short novel, The Fire Islands, introduces Lesser Tribune Marcus Venandus and his Black Vigil Severus Lupus as they struggle to maintain the discipline of their unit in extremely adverse conditions.

Maps are very important to fantasy literature, and I was very fortunate to discover Chris Adams—an amazingly talented painter who took my poor pen and paper scratches and turned them into works of remarkable beauty as you can see first in this map of the Jeweled Hills in the Legionnaire series:

And then in his even more incredible map of my other fantasy series, Winterhaven:

And now I’m very excited to announce that the first three books of my Legionnaire series are available in audio format at Audible thanks to the amazing vocal talents of Will Hahn.

I hope you’ll stop by my website at:

And Chris’ website at:

And Will’s website at:

To learn more about my work. I’ll leave you with the blurbs and covers for the first books in both series and a sincere thank you to Richard for hosting me.

Lesser Tribune Marcus Venandus, Legion officer exemplar, was exiled to the disease-ridden hell hole known as the Fire Islands as punishment for the failed political machinations of his father. While the days of the powerful witchdoctor kings throwing skeletal armies against the shields of the legion have faded into history, all is not right at the edge of the world. Unrest is boiling once again as long dead darkness seeps back into the islands. With the legion more concerned with its personal rivalries than with its duty, it will fall to Marcus and his small, highly disciplined, command to put the horrors of the past back in their graves and literally save Aquila from a fate worse than death. 

In the far off Duchy of Winterhaven at the edge of human civilization, a young knight investigates a most unusual murder while the Great Lords of the land scheme to expand their borders and take control of the duchy. A decade of relative peace is about to collapse and only young Dhrugal of Edgefield and his brothers and sister stand between Winterhaven and dark-spun chaos.

My thanks to this weeks guest for a great post. I hope you all enjoyed it.

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Don’t miss the Saturday Rewind, next Thursdays Showcase post, and my musings every Monday.

Have a good week,



8 Responses

  1. Chris L Adams

    I have to say, it’s been an honor to correspond with Gilbert Stack, and I couldn’t be more pleased to see his creativity and hard work highlighted in this manner. Bravo, Richard, for the good work you’re carrying on for Indie authors (I’m one of them, too).

    Gil didn’t mention how we met, so I’ll tell a short story. He had left a review on a freebie Conan yarn of mine where he pointed out a weakness in my writing that occurred near the close of the yarn. His words were frank and hard as stone. After seething a few days from the low rating and review, I began to seriously ponder what he said. I even spoke to my best friend about it. He helped me make up my mind when he said he agreed with Gil’s assessment. That reinforced for me the realization that, although it was a blistering review, the man knew what he was talking about. And further, if I heeded his advice, the writing would be all the stronger for it.

    After revising the piece, I stepped out on faith and messaged Gil on Goodreads and mentioned that I’d taken his advice and edited that section to correct the weakness he’d pointed out. He not only replied, but offered to re-read the story and revise his own assessment; and he did. We’ve been yakking ever since!

    So I owe the man a debt of gratitude for that open frankness which he always exhibits when we talk about writing. I also owe him thanks for continually pushing my artwork (which I only began doing in 2017, so I consider myself an extreme novice and nowhere near in the league where Gil places me). He is always gracious to include the maps I’ve painted for him on his site and gives me fair credit in his novels for the pieces I’ve done for him. I should also point out that the scenes he asks me to paint for him are quite often beyond my abilities, which has really forced me to study and learn and practice and gain some chops I might otherwise not have gained in such a short time.

    Thanks, Gil! It’s been a pleasure.

    • Richard Dee

      Thanks for commenting, I “met” Gil when he read and reviewed one of my books. His comments were much appreciated and right on the money. I’m trying to pay Indies back for all the kindness and support that I was shown in the early days via the Showcase posts. If you ever want a spot, please let me know. Richard.

      • Chris L Adams

        Richard, cool–and thanks for that offer! Take a look at my book page when you can, and see if my offerings are in line with what you’re doing here on your site. My stuff is mostly pulp-era in style, dystopian, horror, scyfy. I’m nearing completion of the second volume of a new series, so would definitely be interested in a spot.



        • Richard Dee

          Yes Chris, titles like that are what I grew up on and pay homage to in my writing (or at least I try to). Take a look at the Portfolio or Sci-fi Shorts tabs on this site. Or pick up a freebie. I’d be honoured to have you guest on the Showcase, the next free date is 27th Feb next year. If that’s OK, let me know and I’ll send you more details.

  2. Gilbert M. Stack

    Chris and Richard, you are both packed so full of raw talent that it humbles me! And both of you are great guys–straight shooters who are always looking to give another author a helping hand. I am grateful to you both. And Richard, I’ve had a couple of pleasant hours reading through your Indie Showcases. This is a wonderful service and I’m very grateful to you for giving me a spot.

    • Richard Dee

      You’re very welcome. I had so much help and encouragement when I was starting out, I try to pay it forward as much as possible. We’re all in this together, not as competitors, just as authors, illustrators, editors or whatever.

Comments are closed.