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“Military March” Written by B.W. Gibson

The following are song lyrics I wrote to a march-style song honoring the four main branches of our United States Military.  These are shown in Book 3 of my Extra Innings trilogy “A Hero Among Thieves.”  In the early 1950’s, character Billy McGee joins the USAF and is eventually sent over to Korea.   His initial inspiration of how each branch function inspires him to write this song he calls “Military March.”  I thought since today was Veterans Day, I would share this with everyone.

I wish everyone a blessed Veterans Day as we reflect on the brave and honorable men and women who have given their blood, sweat and tears to preserve freedom.  Thank You!

Military March

One: Hail Hail

Many: Hail Hail

One: Army march the land

Many: Army march the land

One: The enemy is on our back

Many: The enemy is on our back

One:  But strong and united we stand

Many:  Strong and united we stand


One:  Hail Hail

Many:  Hail Hail

One: Navy march the seas

Many:  Navy march the seas

One:  The enemy’s approaching fast

Many:  The enemy’s approaching fast

One:  But we’re tested and built to last

Many:  We are tested and built to last


One:  Hail Hail

Many:  Hail Hail

One:  Air Force march the skies

Many:  Air Force march the skies

One:  Though the enemy may try

Many:  Though the enemy may try

One:  Victory is on our side

Many:  Victory is on our side


One:  Hail Hail

Many:  Hail Hail

One:  Marines march the scene

Many:  Marines march the scene

One:  The enemy is everywhere

Many:  The enemy is everywhere

One:  But all as one we will not fail

Many:  All as one we will not fail


Written by B.W. Gibson (Brian Gibson)  2007

As seen in Extra Innings:  A Hero Among Thieves


Historically Fictional Characters

In my July 13, 2014 blog I shared 3 Key Qualities to a Successful Blogger.  One of those qualities was Attention to Detail.   For the sake of time, I am going to narrow this topic down to ONE specific detail regarding Historical Fiction: Character Names.

Generally speaking the objective of historical fiction is to capture the particular period in history during which the story takes place.  One important detail that shouldn’t be missed is the authenticity of character names.  Many names that are popular today were not always popular and in some cases did not even exist.  For example, in my book Extra Innings: The Diamond Thieves, one of the main supporting character’s is Charlie Blair.  In the original version of the story, he was written as Ryan Blair simply because I liked that name and though it fit his persona of being a pretty boy.  However, according to my research the name Ryan did not appear as a first name until 1946.  Previously, it had only been known as a last name.  My story begins in 1947, at which point my “Ryan Blair” was thirteen years old.  Fortunately, I caught this oversight and then had to begin searching for a fitting name to this character.  Social Security online has a designated section for popular boy and girl baby names for each specific year in history (you can also search by decade).  This site was very helpful through the Extra Innings trilogy since I can search by state and the story takes place in Mississippi.   (NOTE:  If your book takes place in another country you may try using a site called Baby Name Wizard.  This allows you to search for popular boy and girl names by country).  Through my searching I was able to happily settle on Charlie which was one of the top 10 boy names during the 1930’s in the American South.    REMEMBER:  Search using the decade or year in which your character was born NOT the year in which they are a young adult or adult in your story.

Now I’m going to switch perspectives.  Although it is critical to capture authenticity when representing a specific period in American History, or anywhere in the world, you may also choose a unique name to one or a few select characters.  This may help to give your book some global popularity when it comes to search engine uniqueness.  Although it was not my initial intention with one key character, T.J. was certainly not a popular name until later on in American History.  The only reference I could find was in ‘Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry‘ by Mildred D. Taylor.  One of her characters was a 13 year old boy named TJ Avery.  I debated whether or not to change T.J.’s name to a more popular black name of the Old South but ultimately believe it was best considering how significant and unique of a role he played throughout the books.

Lastly, is surnames.  This is another area you don’t want to miss.  Make sure you to your research on popular last names AND how they were spelled as spellings may be different in certain regions of the United States as well as specific parts often world.

This extra step of research will have a significant impact on how your book feels to its readers.  Even if your target market was not alive during that particular era, an accurately selected name, especially one unique to that time period, may trigger a memory of a grandparent or great grandparent that will help boost the story’s overall credibility.  The last thing I would want is for my readers to comment: “I loved B.W. Gibson‘s Extra Innings story but I couldn’t get past that Ryan Blair character.  I’m from the South and Ryan was just not a name that was ever used back then.”

Make sense?


What the Heck is Favorable Attention?

“What the heck is favorable attention?” a friend asked me today.  My respond was simply:  “It’s a conversational game-changer.”

Of course, this begged more question, so I commenced with a more in depth explanation along with some examples.  Favorable Attention is all about appealing to your listener’s pride.  So what does appeal to pride mean?  Look for something that is of importance to your listener and compliment them on it.  For example, did a positive change recently occur in the life of the person you’re talking with?  This could be a new job, promotion, engagement, new home, recent vacation, accomplishment of a goal, new car, etc.  Or is there a known quality about that person that you admire?  If any of these exist, acknowledge and compliment them on it.  One of the best examples of this is actually given in my book “The Diamond Thieves” of the Extra Innings trilogy when the character Pastor Cook is trying to get the attention of the adults who are in an uproar over T.J. playing in the 4th of July baseball game because T.J. is black and their sons are white.  (Remember this trilogy takes place during the late 1940’s to early 50’s in the Deep South and encompasses the theme of social injustice.  Cook compliments the feuding men by calling them “intelligent men” and goes a step further by acknowledging that “everyone here knows that about you.”

Imagine the opposite.  What would happen if you’re initiating your conversations with an insult?   Immediately, your listener would become defensive.  For example, if a manager or supervisor was trying to counsel an unproductive or insubordinate employee and starts off the conversation with:  “I don’t know what’s come over you?  You use to be our top producer and lately you’re sales are worse than some of our newbies.”  Versus if the boss starts the counseling like this:  “You have more integrity than most anyone I’ve ever worked with and historically, I can always rely on you for outstanding results.  Help me to understand what’s been getting in the way of your performance lately and let’s see if we can work together to get you back on track.”   You’ve appealed to the listener’s pride by complimenting them on their integrity and past reliability to perform.  There is nothing about this sentence that would trigger the listener to become defensive.  This allows them to continue the coaching session with an open mind and without the distraction of a defensive wall.

My father, Wes Gibson is who taught me about Favorable Attention.  He was a VP with Goodyear and is a master at this skill.  He learned it from his father, my grandfather, Charles Gibson who had a successful career with the Singer Sewing Company.  This skill, like most, is not developed overnight.  It takes continuous practice.  When mastered, it will take your conversation skills to a whole new level and allow you to leverage any conversation to ensure that your listener receives a clear message from you with fewer distractions.  It also allows the listener to walk away feeling good about the conversation.  Remember the Maya Angelou quote from my last blog “A Writer’s Worth of Mouth.”  Maya said: “People will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”  So why not say something that makes them feel good about themselves.  This will also keep you in a positive light in their mind and allow for a better connection between you and them.  Appeal to their pride with a compliment and this will gain you the Favorable Attention you need to make a more positive lasting impression and get your message across without any major roadblocks.


How To Connect When You Have Nothing in Common

Ever been with a group of people that all of a sudden they all disperse and you’re left standing or sitting there with someone you don’t know or know that you share nothing in common?  Awkward isn’t it?   Often times we’re not quick on our feet or crafty at striking up an interesting enough conversation to squash the uncomfortable silence.  The solution to this problem lies in the first half of my Mission Statement which is “To Connect and Inspire.”  A good rule of thumb is to be more interested than interesting.  Move in quickly (the sooner the better) with a good question to find out more about the person.  Ask about their interests, listen, respond to show that you are listening and then proceed with another question that’s pertinent to how they answered the first question.  Hopefully, even though you may know nothing about what interests them, it’s something that you’re able to be genuinely interested in or else you’re going to be bored to tears (which may, in fact, be the lesser of the two evils versus the previous awkward silence).

Remember: People love to hear themselves talk and they love talking about themselves.  So be the proactive one and ask them a compelling question.  Over time you’ll develop this skill and be able to ask questions that will guide the conversation into a topic that interests you as well.   A key driver of this skill is imagination.  A compelling imagination will help you ask a more interesting question that leads to a more interesting conversation.

Writers are gifted with a vast imagination.  So, whether they know it or not, they would be very good at coming up with compelling questions.  Actors too.  Think about it, a writer often writes about or an actor may have to play a character with whom they have nothing in common.  So how do they do this so well?  You have to be willing to learn new things.  If the person you’re standing there alone with is talking about things that don’t interest you all it takes is an open mind to be able to connect with them.   Being open-minded comes with some great benefits!  The more open-minded you are the more people you will connect with and who knows where one of those connections will take you one day.  For example, it might just skyrocket your career.

NBC ran series of public service announcement entitled “The More You Know” encouraging parents to be more involved in their children’s education.  This trains young people to be more open-minded.  Research shows that communities that support multicultural studies have a significant reduction acts of prejudice and racial injustice.  These topics are themes in my Extra Inning trilogy with a particular focus during the baseball game in the first book ‘The Diamond Thieves.’

Considering the time period (Cold War) and location (Deep South) of the Extra Innings series, I felt it was critical to include these topics in the story.  I’m a white male, so I’ve never personally faced what a black has faced in terms of unfair or unjust treatment because of the color of his skin.  I’ve always had a very diverse pool of friends and enjoyed engaging in conversations that some may find uncomfortable.  These connections have educated me on the topic of discrimination and social injustice.  I am very interested in this topic.

For some, making these sort of connections may not come easy but, again, it’s all about keeping an open mind.  In the end, you’ll be amazed with the new and cherished relationships you’ll establish by keeping an open mind and showing a sincere interest in what’s important in that individual’s life.


A Pen Mightier Than Any Sword

Have you ever signed a document or form and the pen smeared?

How did that make you feel? Frustrated … irritated … or just plain pissed off? Well, imagine being a writer and hosting your a book signing for your latest (or very first) book? How embarrassing!! I recently attended an Author’s Book Fair at the Hudson Library & Historical Society last Saturday (July 19th) in Hudson, Ohio. I had the privilege of meeting some very talented authors which I will blog more about in the near future. My main takeaway was that all 50-some authors were signing books with a black Sharpie. I don’t know why this felt like a mind-blowing revelation to me but I was like wow!  Genius!  I am so glad I picked up on this because I just had my first book signing last night at The Nervous Dog Coffee Shop in Akron, Ohio and I was just planning on using a nice blue that I found laying around our house. Yikes! That would have been a horrible lasting impression if that pen had smeared. ‘The Diamond Thieves‘ is the title of my first book in a young adult historical fiction trilogy entitled Extra Innings.

I’m sure most writers agree that quality is a top priority in their writing. Many writers, like me, are very private about their work and not willing to share it with the general public or even friends and family until it’s just right.  Well, I believe this Attention to Detail should also be applied to any and all interactions with anyone in conjunction with your writing.  Details go a long way.  Imagine the impression your customer who brings their signed book home only to discover that the author’s signature or personalized message has been smeared and indecipherable.  That’s major negative points against your overall quality reputation.  So here’s just a quick and very simple (BUT IMPORTANT) tip for all you writers out there:

Use a Sharpie when signing one of your books. Sign on one of the inside blank pages and NOT immediately inside the cover in case the Sharpie bleeds through. Remember, Attention to Detail is one of the ‘3 Key Qualities to a Successful Writer/Blogger’ (see my previous blogs).  Oh … and one more small suggestion:  I think black just looks the most professional when signing a book.