The Author Guy Blog

21st February 2024

Hello out there,

Welcome back. Last week, my son noted in an email reply to one of mine that he’d just noticed the hat in my signature line:

I replied that it was a component of my author “branding” but I had hoped it wouldn’t be so subtle as to go unnoticed by a family member for the better part of three years.

I am a proud member of the Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels, an organization here in my home state dedicated to doing important charitable work for those less fortunate. To become a Colonel, one must be approved by the Secretary of State before the certificate is signed-off by the sitting governor. I’ve been a member since the mid-1980s, so my certificate was signed by the only woman governor in Kentucky’s history – Martha Lane Collins. All by way of explaining the hat is a Kentucky Colonel hat.

The Old English “G” (that also appears in my name on my book covers) holds special meaning to me because it’s how my late father signed his name. I recalled this uniqueness and have proudly incorporated it into my author branding.

One final bit of branding is the salutation I employ at the end of written correspondence:

The Author Guy

Simple explanation. I’ve gained a tad bit of recognition (dare I say, notoriety) in my hometown of Bowling Green due to my novels and my monthly newspaper column, and I have a rather unique last name. When I’m introduced to someone for the first time, the name recognition sometimes kicks in, and more than once I’ve heard, “Oh, you’re the author guy.”

Until next week … Vaya con Dios

Larry B. Gildersleeve


16 th February 2024

Hello out there,

Welcome back. Last week I commented that opinions are like noses – everyone has one. I wrote it because I disagreed with what I felt was an untrue and unfounded statement of absolute posted to an author-centric Facebook group. It caused me to ponder so many other “absolute” statements and admonishments I’ve read over the past ten years regarding the craft of writing.

It’s been my (albeit limited) experience that most of these proffers of advice come from people who are either not published authors, or if they are, unsuccessful ones. I’m remined of the old saw: “Those who can – do. Those who can’t or won’t – teach.” Here are just two that came two mind that I felt were worth sharing.

A now-deceased supposed writing “expert” by the name of Bickham had an entire chapter in his book entitled “Don’t describe the weather.” He goes on with the added admonishment to never begin a book with weather. Well, perhaps he had in mind the infamous and much-maligned opening of “It was a dark and stormy night.” But to never describe the weather, something that is such a big part of our daily lives? Something that is a great source of the all-important conflict essential in a work of fiction? I humbly beg to disagree.

Early in my ten-year author journey, I attended a two-day writers’ conference. One of the instructors, a purported bestselling author, told the class she hated the use of “he said or she said” in attributing dialogue to characters, and it should be avoided at all cost. It occurred to me sitting there that she probably hadn’t read many classics, or legitimate bestselling books. One of my favorite authors, the late renowned Robert B. Parker, sprinkled “he said” and “she said” all over his pages of dialogue. And as an added note, I saw that same admonishment against the use in a
recent Facebook author group posting. Oh, well.

Until next week … Vaya con Dios – and Happy Valentine’s Day!

Larry B. Gildersleeve


9th February 2024

Hello out there,

Welcome back. I have so much to learn about my chosen craft of fiction writing that I seek advice and information whenever and wherever I can find it. As a result, I’ve joined several author-centric Facebook groups and up until now I just read the postings, make notes when appropriate, and keep on scrolling. But not this week.

An author inquired of the group if her already-published indie novel had any chance of being picked up by a mainstream publishing house. Another group member responded “Absolutely not” and went on to opine that it would only happen if the book had achieved stunning sales success, as was the one-off and well-known instance of Fifty Shades of Grey. Two, possibly
three, problems with that response.

First, I don’t believe in “absolutes” in the co-joined worlds of writing and publishing. Second, from personal experience, I know the “absolutely not” to be absolutely not true. My award-winning fourth novel, Blue by You, did not achieve great sales success (as is the case for 99.9% of self-published books – it’s just a sad but true reality). But it will be republished and re-released later this year by an affiliate imprint of one of the world’s Big Five publishing houses.

The third possible problem with the “absolutely not” statement is that I can’t find the woman’s three-part name anywhere as a published author. If she is, then I guess it’s with a nom de plume. If she’s not a published author, from whence gains her this “absolute” insight?

Opinions are like noses – every person has one. I fear this person may have become a bit of a Pinocchio with hers.

Until next week … Vaya con Dios

Larry B. Gildersleeve


2nd February 2024

Hello out there,

Welcome back. Last week, I wrote about my affection for short books and offered several recommendations. But what is worth sharing, I believe, is that for authors penning short manuscripts, they’re swimming against the tide. Actually, more like a tsunami of bias driven by arbitrary (in my opinion) word count thresholds.

To be considered “a novel” by agents, editors, publishers and professional reviewers, a manuscript must contain a minimum of 65,000 words, with 120,000 words carrying the author into a danger zone of overkill in terms of acceptability. When the word count fails to chin the bar of 65,000 words, the term “novella” comes into play – and more often than not, derisively.

I’ve read and been told that short books “cheat” a reader, somehow lessening enjoyment and not offering good value for the purchase price. Others may think that way, but not me. Last week, among the short books I recommended are Love Story, Bridges of Madison County, The Old Man
and the Sea, and Of Mice and Men
. What do they all have in common? They were made into award-winning movies.

For those who believe short books are unfair to the pocketbooks of readers, consider this – from readers. In 1970, the year it was released, it is widely reported that one in five households in America had a copy of Love Story. One in five. Oh, my! A little over twenty years later, Bridges
of Madison County was released, and over time it sold more than 50 million copies worldwide. And more recently, I believe the illustrated book The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy was the bestselling book of 2020 with a $22.99 price tag. And my guess is the word count is less than that of weekly columns appearing in the Wall Street Journal or the New
York Times.

Different strokes for different folks.

Until next week … Vaya con Dios

Larry B. Gildersleeve


26th January 2024

Hello out there,

Welcome back. When I first began writing fiction ten years ago, a dream deferred for almost fifty years, I intended to follow in the footsteps of Eric Segal and Robert James Waller, authors of “Love Story” and “Bridges of Madison County” respectively.

As measured against the traditional model for a novel in terms of word count, these were remarkably sparse. But so are these books I highly recommend that can easily be read in one sitting: John Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men;” Hemingway’s “The Old Man and the Sea;” “The Go-Giver” by Bob Burg and John David Mann; “Every Morning The Way Home Gets Longer and Longer” by Fredrik Backman; “The Prophet” by Kahil Gibran; “Star Bright” by Andrew Greeley.

It might take two sittings, but these four are remarkable:” Tuesdays with Morrie” by Mitch Albom and “The Last Lecture” by Randy Pausch, and from my childhood, “Where the Red Fern Grows” by Wilson Rawls and “Old Yeller” by Fred Gipson.

The late Robert B. Parker was a prolific bestselling author in the mystery/thriller genre, and I’m a huge fan because his books, like mine, are dialogue-driven. But my favorite of all of his books was the sentimental “Love and Glory,” a short novel released in 1983 as one of his earliest works.

Here’s what I believe. For both the avid and the casual reader, the shorter the book, the greater the chance it will be read and enjoyed again and again. If you doubt my thinking, I encourage you to give it a try.

Until next week … Vaya con Dios.

Larry B. Gildersleeve


19th January 2024

Hello out there,

Welcome back. One of my resolutions for the new year was to read even more than I’ve endeavored in the past. Since I write fiction, I read novels almost exclusively – for two reasons.

The obvious one is the pleasure that comes from escaping into the imaginary world created by another author. A perhaps less obvious reason to those who are not writers or authors (and there is a difference) is to learn from those more skilled than I am.

I look forward to each new offering from John Grisham, though I confess disappointment in his latest “The Exchange.” The amount of his descriptive violence was a new experience for me, and the prose didn’t seem as robust and flowing as I remember. But that might just be me.

I highly recommend these three books that received awards and/or stunning reviews in 2023 – “Resurrection Walk” the much-anticipated sequel to his bestseller “Lincoln Lawyer” by Michael Connelly; “Tom Lake” by one of my absolute favorite authors Ann Patchett; and “The Heaven and Earth Grocery Store” by James McBride. All three are New York Times bestselling authors, and I firmly believe you won’t be disappointed with any or all of these selections.

I’d be delighted to hear from you – about the books you’ve read that captivated you, as well as those that disappointed you. All part of my journey of learning as much as I can about the craft of writing and the profession of being both a writer and an author.

Until next week …

Vaya con Dios

Larry B. Gildersleeve


12th January 2024

Hello out there,

Welcome back. Last week, I spoke of my 10-year journey from the world of self-published “indie” authors to being accepted for distribution by one of the Big Five largest and most prestigious publishing houses. But that timeframe pales in comparison to others about whom I’ve read.

In the Forward to Terry Whalin’s “10 Publishing Myths,” author Jerry Jenkins wrote that he published 124 books before his Left Behind novel series took hold, selling 60 million copies.

James Patterson, the world’s most successful author as measured by book sales, experienced his first book being turned down by 31 publishers.

James Lee Burke’s book “The Lost Get-Back Boogie” was rejected 111 times over nine years before LSU Press published it – and it was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.

Publishing industry phenomenon “Chicken Soup” was rejected 144 times before it was finally published, and has now sold over 500 million copies in over 20 variations.

Author Rod McKuen had been selling books out of his car before being discovered by famed editor Nan Telese, then for a few years he accounted for 24 percent of Random House revenue.

Somewhere between 700,000 and 1 million books are published every year, and very few of them will sell in meaningful quantities. I’m ever-hopeful about my future, but the truth is, the joy I receive from the craft of writing is in and of itself my greatest reward.

Until next week … Vaya con Dios

Larry B. Gildersleeve


5th January 2024

Hello out there, and Happy New Year

Welcome back. I hope you and your family enjoyed a wonderful holiday season, and that the new year dawns brightly for you as one filled with health, happiness and prosperity – however those three words are defined in your life and in the lives of your loved ones.

Well, things have changed remarkably for me regarding my author journey. I just signed a two-book deal with an affiliate imprint of one of the world’s five largest and most respected publishing houses. The agreement also gives them the right-of-first-refusal on all my future books. One of the two books will be from the just-completed manuscript of my fifth novel entitled For the Love of Charley Chaplain. But the greatest joy for me in this new relationship comes from the fact that my award-winning fourth novel, Blue by You, will be republished and re-released as my first book with my new publisher.

Both manuscripts will undergo intense review and analysis by worldclass editors to assure that both books will be the very best they can possibly be. Blue will be released first, with a new cover design, sometime this coming summer. I’m hopeful that Charley will be available for release around Thanksgiving.

My ten-year journey from being a self-published “indie” author to acceptance in the elite reaches of the publishing world is difficult to put into words. Suffice it to say I’m thrilled to begin this new dimension of my author journey, and I’m delighted to have you accompany me.

Until next week … Vaya con Dios

Larry B. Gildersleeve


22nd December 2023

Hello, out there,

Welcome back. Today, I’ve been thinking about the expression “the reason for the season” as it pertains to Christmas. What about the inverse – when the season becomes the reason, moving from a noun derived from Scripture to an adjective associated with the last few weeks of the year?

This time of year, for many or most of us, connotes a feeling that can reach in and touch the human spirit. As a novelist, I remain in awe of the Hallmark Channel’s ability to create a seemingly endless run of seasonally-themed movies, all essentially telling the same story with basically the same type of characters with the requisite happy ending in so many different versions. Yet it’s likely not the true meaning of Christmas (noun) that keeps viewers coming back for more, rather the sentimentality of the Christmas (adjective) spirt in each and every storyline.

Not complaining, mind you. Rather wishing there was a way for this seasonal feeling of happiness and goodwill toward others to last throughout the coming year. Here’s hoping the spirit of Christmas (noun and adjective) permeates your life and those near and dear to you throughout all of 2024.

Until next week … Vaya con Dios

Larry B. Gildersleeve


15 th December 2023

Hello, out there.

Welcome back. Today, I want to share with you how proud I was when, upon renewing my passport recently for the fifth time since 1981, I listed my profession as “author.” It represents a dream come true for me since my high school days, and places me into what I believe is a very special category – one I encourage you to join.

I’ve read many times that 80% of the U.S. population has thought at one time or another about writing a book. Only a very small percentage actually begin the process, and a miniscule number will go on to finish a manuscript. Sadly, for me at least, an even smaller subset of that tiny number will go on and actually publish a book.

The rise of small and mid-size indie and hybrid publishers in recent years has opened doors for authors that were previously closed by the tight knit community of agents and mainstream publishers. I, for one, happily walked through that door ten years ago, and I would be delighted to share my hard-earned insights with anyone who contacts me at

I believe it was Maya Angelou who said something to the effect that if there is a book you want to read that hasn’t yet been written – write it. To which I say – Amen!

Until next week … Vaya con Dios

Larry B. Gildersleeve


8 th December 2023

Hey, out there,

Welcome back. Today, a word about words.

A few weeks ago, the autobiography My Name is Barbra was released. No need to identify the author – who else could it be? But here’s the thing. Isn’t 992 pages a bit much, even for someone with such a stellar stage, film and music career? I think it is.

The comparisons I’m about to make are by no means parallel or comparable, but they are, I believe, illustrative about the verbosity trap into which so many people in the public eye are prone to fall.

The account of creation in Genisis is told in only 400 words; the Ten Commandments in 313; the Lord’s Prayer in 66. The Declaration of Independence, written in 1776, contains a mere 1,322 words, yet the
2010 Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) extends to almost twelve million words with all of its associated regulations.

Whether written or spoken, I believe more words don’t always, or even usually, equate to better.

The Reverend Martin Luther King Jr’s largely extemporaneous I Have A Dream speech in August of 1963 on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to a crowd of 250,000 lasted just seventeen minutes. Stadium sermons to assemblages in the tens of thousands over many decades all over the world by the late Reverend Billy Graham were almost always under fifteen minutes.

The Gettysburg Address, written on a train enroute to the event, contained a mere 286 words and lasted only a few minutes when spoken. The man immediately preceding President Lincoln spoke for an hour and a half. Does anyone know his name? Over 150 years later, speakers and writers still persist all too often in floating a battleship of words around a rowboat of thought.

As I promised in my first posting a few weeks ago, with my books, my columns, my blog and elsewhere, I’ll never feel such a need or entitlement

Until next week … Vaya con Dios

Larry B. Gildersleeve


1 st December 2023

Hey, out there,

Welcome back.

Today, I’ll explain a couple of things about this blog.

I’m a huge admirer of the late bestselling author Pat Conroy (even visited his gravesite in a small cemetery near Beaufort, South Carolina cemetery). After his passing in early March 2016, a collection of some of his speeches, magazine articles and letters was published as A Low Country
Heart (Reflections on a Writing Life).

In reading the book, I learned he began such reflections with the simple words “Hey, out there.” From all that I’ve read about him, including his 2018 biography My Unremarkable Life, I don’t think he’d mind this one tiny bit of emulation.

Secondly, I live in a Southern town where residents know each other and their business … or think they do. When folks became aware of my books and my newspaper contributions, and I was introduced for the first time, because of the uniqueness of my last name, more than one person responded, “Oh, you’re the author guy.” I am indeed, and proudly so.

While I have acknowledged borrowing a few words from Mr. Conroy, I’m unaware of any other writer referring to themselves as either “the author guy or gal.” As I become better known as a novelist, and that is certainly my dream, I wouldn’t mind one bit if others borrowed my self-anointed sobriquet.

Until next week … Vaya con Dios

Larry B. Gildersleeve


24 th November 2023

Hey, out there~

Welcome to the very first Author Guy blog. And let me begin by saying I hope you and your family had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday.

A bit about me. I’m a retired corporate executive who, ten years ago, began pursuing a lifelong dream of being a published author. I now have four novels in print, and you can read the first three chapters of each one at My fifth will be released in early 2024.

In addition to this blog, I publish a monthly newsletter (you can sign-up on my web site) and I’m a featured columnist in some of Boone Newsmedia’s sixty-plus newspapers across the Midwest and Southeast.

For my weekly blog, I intend to remain focused on writing, combining my original thoughts with things like quotes and facts about other authors, books I’m currently reading or recommend to others, as well as the importance to both readers and authors of libraries, independent bookstores and indie/hybrid publishers.

You have my commitment that every week, I will be brief. Less, hopefully, will be more.

Until next week … Vaya con Dios.

Larry B. Gildersleeve