Happy Veterans Day 2021

Veterans Day is a day to thank all who have served our country in the United States Armed Forces. In the divisive climate we find ourselves in during these troubled days, I think it is important to remind ourselves what it means to be an American and why so many Americans have willingly served in the defense of Freedom, and many making the ultimate price to ensure our Freedoms continue.

In light of that, I thought I would share this poem I discovered by Lynne Carey

Veteran

I was a proud veteran
That served my country well
To those that would listen
I had many stories to tell.

We fought for America’s freedom
In far away places on foreigh land.
Wherever the battle for Democracy raged,
America’s finest made a stand.

We fought for your future
And the right to remain free.
For we saw what freedom meant
To those without Liberty.

For you and yours
We would gladly have given our life.
We faced the fears and perils of battle
We braved endless turmoil and strife.

Please remember us veterans
And the sacrifices we made for you.
Please share the blessings of freedom.
Proudly wave the red, white and blue.

Lynne Carey
Copyright 2004

With Respect, Honor, and Gratitude, Thank You Veterans!

Happy 246th Birthday, US Marine Corps

Marine tradition holds that the Marine Corps was formed in a bar. The story dates back to November 1775, when two newly commissioned Captains, Samuel Nicholas and Robert Mullan, reportedly organized the first Marine Corps muster at the Tun Tavern, a popular bar in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. According to the tale, the two officers enticed potential recruits with mugs of beer and the promise of adventure on the high seas.

These recruits made up the first five Marine Corps companies that served aboard Continental Navy warships. Some historians maintain that a pub called the Conestoga Wagon was the more likely recruitment site; however, that is also a bar, and so, this tale remains a part of Marine lore to this day.

The National Museum of the Marine Corps in Virginia even features a restaurant appropriately named “Tun Tavern.”

Somehow, given the reputation of the US Marines as “life takers and heartbreakers,” this seems oddly entirely appropriate. I mean, how many other US military services can brag they were formed in a bar?

All joking aside, if you see a Marine today, wish them a Happy Birthday, and maybe buy them a beer!

Happy Birthday, Marines!

A Dog Can Literally Add Years To Your Life!

You should check out this truly delightful post by Eric over at The Petsitter Compendium

Well, let’s face it, life is just one kick in the pants after the next. I have noticed, however, that life is better with a dog (or three). Dogs are optimal companions, vigilant guardians, perpetual playmates, and even extemporaneous vacuum cleaners. Studies have demonstrated that these generators of joy actually reduce stress levels in their human companions.

The Petsitters Compendium

I hope you will check out the rest of this great post here! And if you like it, let him know!

Martial Mayhem for a Good Cause!

On Saturday, October 30th, a group of martial artists got together at the Beulah United Methodist Church in Knoxville, Tennessee, for a day of martial arts training while raising money for Knoxville’s Children’s Hospital in honor of Charla Alley. Sadly, Charla, the wife of Sensei Jim Alley, succumbed to a terminal illness some time ago. The seminar, originally planned by Sensei Bob Noel, was canceled and rescheduled several times due to the Covid pandemic.

Several instructors from different styles volunteered their time to teach a variety of topics to a group of about 30 attendees. Nearly $1,000 was raised for charity and every participant had a great time.

Here is the lineup of instructors for last Saturday’s event.

Sensei Bob Noel
Uechi-Ryu Karate
Event Host & Organizer

Sensei Noel teaches traditional Uechi-ryu Karate at the Knoxville Uechi-ryu Karate School located at the Street Beatz Studio.

Sensei Noel led a warm-up session consisting of Uechi-ryu basic exercises and the Uechi-ryu version of Sanchin Kata.

Sensei Eddie Satterfield
Isshin-ryu Karate

Sensei Satterfield led a great session on Qi Gong breathing as a tool for relaxing, energizing, and healing. It was a great way to get charged up for the seminar.

Sensei Danny Satterfield
Isshin-ryu Karate

Sensei Danny Satterfield led a very informative session on the framing mechanics of Sanchin Kata. I think it was an eye-opening session for a lot of participants.

Sensei Danny Smith
Isshin-ryu Karate

Sensei Smith led a session on a sai kata from the Tokushinryu Kobudo system. It was clear from participant’s comments, that they really enjoyed this session

Sensei Scott Britt
Isshin-ryu Karate

Sensei Britt presented a fascinating session on the Suruchin, a traditional flexible weapon from Okinawan Kobudo. Scott has written a book on this intriguing weapon.

Sensei Darren Gilbert
Isshin-ryu Karate

Sensei Gilbert presented a great session on using stances to break the line of attack and avoid getting hit, while still allowing you to effectively strike your opponent. This foundational skill is key to unlocking techniques in kata.

Sensei Michael Patrick
Torite Jutsu

Sensei Patrick presented a session on using pressure point techniques to control and subdue your attacker. Understanding pressure points is a big help in understanding the techniques found in kata. This is always a popular topic with participants.

Sensei Mike Allen
Isshin-ryu Karate

Sensei Allen led a well-enjoyed session on Tegumi, which is a traditional form of Okinawan grappling. Many participants commented that this session was a lot of fun.

Sensei David Higgins
Shorin-ryu Karate

Sensei Higgins, a black belt in Shorin-ryu as well as a student of Uechi-ryu, led a session on Shuji No Kun, a Yammani Ryu bo kata. This session was particularly enjoyed by a few of our younger participants, and I enjoyed it as well.

Sensei Jim Alley
Isshin-ryu Karate

Sensei Alley ended the day with a session on techniques from Naihanchi, which with Sanchin Kata, is referred to as the mother and father of Isshin-ryu Karate. It was a great end to a great day!

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So, you want to be a pet sitter, aye?

Yes, people do make a living at this. Or, maybe you just want to supplement your income. And if you love dogs, this may be just what you are looking for. But how do you get started? What do you need to know? Are there pitfalls you need to avoid? So, many questions, so little time!

Well, my friend, Eric, has just the information and experience you need. And, as luck would have it, he has just started a pet sitter’s blog called The Pet Sitter Compendium. I think you should check it out. And, while he is just getting started, there are two great blog posts already, and I am sure there will be more enjoyable, fact-filled posts coming in the future.

I met Eric about five years ago at the Godbold Dog Park in Cary when I moved to North Carolina. I would take Sophie, my German Shepherd, there to exercise.

By the way, this is Sophie, if you haven’t seen her before.

Eric was always there with several dogs like Remi, Rex, and a very lovable white lab I cannot remember the name of. Then there was Nitro, Eric’s dog.

Eric has been a professional pet sitter for much longer than I have known him, and I have known him for about five years now. I would highly recommend him as a person, a dog sitter, and a person from which to seek out information about becoming a dog sitter. So, please do check out his blog … or did I say that already?

What kind of guy is Eric?

By way of an answer, let me say this – this is Nitro, a genuinely great dog who sadly passed away a short time ago. As I mentioned above, Nitro was Eric’s dog, who I have some really fond memories of.

Eric also became the guardian for Rex, another great dog who first taught Sophie how to play catch. Rex’s original human, Bob, became terminally ill and asked Eric to take Rex. Eric agreed. That is just the kind of man he is. So now, Eric has Rex, and Bob is watching over Nitro in Heaven. It seems to me to be the best arrangement possible under the circumstances.

I just pass this along, so readers will know what a great person Eric is and how much he cares for dogs and animals in general. He has years of experience and a wealth of knowledge when it comes to the pet sitting business. So, for the last time, I hope you will check out his blog at: https://petsittercompendium.blog/.

Where’s My Beef?

I was thinking about some of the interesting times I have had, and situations I have seen occur, in East Tennessee since moving here from Massachusetts in 1979. One such early occurrence popped into my mind, and I thought … that would make an interesting blog post. So, here we go …

Welcome to East Tennessee

My parents bought a house in the Hidden Hills subdivision on Possum Hollow Rd. For some reason, the road’s name has been changed to Hidden Hollow. I was so sad to see that, and I wish they hadn’t changed it. I think Possum Hollow Rd had so much more going for it.

Behind the house, a steep ridge went up to a flat pasture that a neighbor grazed black angus cattle in. Before I left for my Army basic training, I sometime would squirrel hunt on that ridge, and somehow, I managed to keep from shooting any cows.

It was a great place to live and the first few weeks we lived in Tennessee seemed quite pleasant. There was one problem, however. The barbed-wire fence that separated the pasture from the woods along the slope of the ridge was in terrible shape. So, periodically we would come home to find one or two black black angus cows grazing in our yard. They would wander through a break in the fence, and come down the ridge to our lawn, I guess in search of greener pastures.

Either my Dad, myself, or maybe my brother would have to herd the cow (or cows) back up the ridge, through the dilapidated fence, and back into the pasture. Then we would do what we could to repair the break. We actually got pretty good at herding cattle! However, once the novelty wore off, it began to get a bit old.

One Sunday, my mother and father came home from church to find a cow munching happily away on the lawn. My dad decided he’d had enough, and called the local sheriff’s office. About twenty minutes later, a patrol car pulled up to the house and a sheriff’s deputy got out of the car. My dad explained the situation to him, while the deputy listened patiently, nodding his head and taking notes.

When my dad had finished, the deputy put his pen away. “Well, sir, I can file a report and go talk to the owner of the cattle. But I really don’t see the problem.”

“You don’t?”

“No sir. If I was you, I’d open the garage door, shoo the cow inside, close the door, and say nothing at all.”

Why would I do that?” my dad asked.

The deputy smiled. “Well sir, I reckon you’d have a pretty good supply beef to start with, and then, after the owner lost a couple more cows, he’ll most likely fix the fence.

Welcome to Tennessee

Bear Tales and Other Things!

Five Surprising Things About Author D.C. Gilbert

Thank you, Joy, for the great post about Adirondack Bear Tales and a few “interesting” facts about me. Your friendship and support means a great deal. And yes, more memoirs are coming …

Author D.C. Gilbert

Did you know Darren Gilbert played guitar in a rock band while in high school?

Here is a short excerpt from her post:

This guitar-playing, ballroom-dance-winning hitchhiker was born in Ilion, NY, but grew up in North Adams, Massachusetts, nestled in the heart of the Berkshire Mountains. An avid reader, Darren Gilbert particularly enjoys military history, epic sagas, spy novels, and historical fiction.

Joy Neal Kidney

Please click here to read the rest of Joy’s great post!

Joy Neal Kidney is a fellow blogger and author. Her two works, Leora’s Letters and Leora’s Dexter Stories are great reads for anyone interested in American history and the sacrifices earlier generations made so we could have the country most of us are so proud of today.

Please visit Joy Neal Kidney’s Amazon Author Page. And if you haven’t read Adirondack Bear Tales, check it out here!

A Bit of Joy in Troubled Times

Book Description

The undertow of the Great Depression becomes poignantly personal as we experience the travails of Leora and Clabe Wilson, a displaced Iowa farm family. Gritty determination fuels this family’s journey of loss and hope, a reflection of what many American families endured during those challenging times.

In this true story the Wilsons slowly slide into unemployment and poverty. Leora must find ways to keep her dreams alive while making a haven for her flock of seven children in one run-down house after another.

My Thoughts …

Author Joy Neal Kidney has done it again.

After enjoying her first book, Leora’s Letters, I ordered a signed copy from the author when Leora’s Dexter Stories was released. I was not disappointed.

In this amazing second book, Author Joy Neal Kidney shares the struggles, trials, and heartbreaks her family experienced during the Great Depression while living in rural small-town Iowa. Leora’s Dexter Stories is a touching and enlightening story of family, struggle, pain, perseverance, and success.

Joy is the oldest granddaughter of Leora Wilson, who in this true story, faces the daily challenges of keeping a roof over her family’s head, putting food on the table, dealing with tragic losses, and ensuring her seven children’s dreams of success remain in focus. Along with her husband, Clabe, Leora Wilson exemplify what so many American families endured during this difficult period in American history.

However, it was not all gloom and despair. There were also times of fellowship, caring friends and family; and yes, moments of joy. Family trips to the fair, children’s school sports activities and other accomplishments are recounted, as well as moments of humor and laughter (I loved Rusty the Squirrel). Leora’s Dexter Stories is a book that will touch your heart.

While not a collection of short stories, each chapter is short enough and so well crafted, the reader can easily read a them one at a time, and return later to continue with no trouble picking up where they left off. Because of vacation and a crisis at work, this is exactly how I read this book. However, at the same time, it is a book you will not want to put down.

I highly recommend this wonderful book. It is my opinion that this book should be required reading in America’s school systems. I can’t help but think that learning and remembering a bit of what the parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents of this current generation endured and sacrificed to provide them with the freedoms they take for granted, and a country they often misunderstand, would be a good thing.

About the Author

Joy Neal Kidney, is the oldest granddaughter of the book’s heroine, and is the author of Leora’s Letters: The Story of Love and Loss For an Iowa Family During World War II. She is a graduate of the University of Northern Iowa and married to a Vietnam War Air Force veteran. Joy lives in central Iowa and is a regular storyteller for “Our American Stories.”

A Cover Worthy of the Story Inside

This journey began some time ago, when a reader of Montagnard who absolutely loved the story, had one criticism to make.

If I had one criticism (and I hate to criticize) it would be the cover. And please don’t take this the wrong way but I wouldn’t buy this book at the bookstore because of the cover. Which is a shame because I would have bypassed a great read!

The reason I bought your book is because I follow your blog and I like to support bloggers.


Honestly, based on the cover I expected to tolerate the book, but… I LOVED it (I have already recommended it to two of my friends).


While I can see how there is a hint of what the book is about by the cover it just doesn’t quite convey properly. To me the cover says ‘political non-fiction’ — it doesn’t say ‘intriguing, captivating, intense action, feel good awesomeness’ which is exactly what your book is.

Beck

This reader’s comment led to a discussion with my editor and a plan to redo the covers of both Serpents Underfoot and Montagnard before the release of the third book, Reciprocity.

The new cover for Serpents Underfoot was completed and I was very pleased with its new cover. You can click here to view that cover on Amazon.com.

Then it became time to work on the new cover for Montagnard. My editor said the covers should identify the books as being written by me and also that they are part of a series. This is part of establishing your “brand.”

When I got the proof for the new cover of Montagnard, I was a bit nervous. It seemed like a tall order, and I had selected the images to use to create the cover. What if I had chosen bad images, or a bad color scheme? Finally, I opened the file.

All I could say was, “Wow!” I could not believe it. My cover designer, Angie, had done an absolutely brilliant job. She was waiting for my “suggested edits.” My response was … don’t change a thing!

I shared the cover proof with several readers I know, family members, friends, etc. The reaction was the same everywhere! I heard two things repeatedly.

  1. I absolutely love it!
  2. That cover is “BAD ASS!”

One reader commented, “Finally, a cover that does justice to the story inside.”

So, without further ado … here is the new cover for Montagnard!

The new cover is up for the Kindle version, and will soon be ready for the paperback and hardcover versions. Check out the kindle version here!


Check out all my books on my Amazon Author’s Page …

Author D.C. Gilbert

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Leora’s Dexter Stories

The new release by Joy Neal Kidney.

I just got my signed copy in the mail! Joy is a great author and I count her among my author friends. I am looking forward to digging into this book. So far, I have only read the back cover, the reviews, and the Foreward by John Busbee, but I can already tell it is going to be great.

I read Joy’s earlier work, Leora’s Letters, which is an amazing tale of this same family’s patriotism, struggle, sacrifice, and pain during World War II. All five of Leora and Clabe Wilsons’s sons went off to serve in the military. They did not all come home. It was a story that broke my heart, made me smile, and stirred my pride all at the same time. If you haven’t read Leora’s Letters, you really should. It is an American story about an America we all need to be remind of these days.

In Leora’s Dexter Stories – The Scarcity Years of the Great Depression, Joy Neal Kidney now shares with her readers the lives of Leora and Clabe Wilson and their displaced Iowa farm family during a time of great struggle and sacrifice. It is an American history, a history of hardworking common folk in America’s heartland during the Great Depression told through the memories and stories of Leora Wilson. And it is, by all accounts, a great collection of stories about love, survival, determination, sacrifice, and perhaps most importantly, hope.

Of course, when I finish the book, I will be posting a review here. I just could not wait that long to say something.

But, of course, you don’t have to wait for my review. Check it out. I promise it will be good.