Category Archives: Book

Vietnam Veteran, 5 Star Review & The Flesheater

Check out this great review from a Vietnam veteran!

Anyone who reads Military Fiction will enjoy this book. DC Gilbert did an excellent job developing the characters and bringing them to life. I enjoyed the beginning, being a Vietnam Veteran, and thought it added to the plot of the story. The story has depth, and the author did an excellent job in fitting in historical events. It was evident that he did his research. I am looking forward to the next one!

vietnam

A word about the sequel, Montagnard!

I added a new character to my sequel to Serpents Underfoot. This new character is amazing! He is … the Flesheater!

vietnam

Jim Hammond designed this amazing blade with input from Guru Arcenio J. Advincula. Guru Advincula is also a 1st generation Isshin-ryu Karate student of the system’s founder, Master Tatsuo Shimabuku. Sensei Advincula was a colleague and good friend of my Isshin-ryu Karate Sensei, Sherman Harrill.

Jim Hammond and AJ Advincula designed the Flesheater as a highly effective fighting knife compatible with the fundamental mechanics of both Largo-Mano Escrima and Isshin-ryu Karate.

Introducing the Flesheater.

The story of the Flesheater began when Master Chief Petty Officer Don Griffiths discussed fighting knives with his martial arts instructor, AJ Advincula. The Master Chief led the design and development research for the SEALTAC knives developed for USN Special Warfare (SEAL) Operations in the early 1980s. During one of the Master Chief’s visits to the shop, he accidentally experienced the cutting edge of the first prototype. The Master Chief exclaimed, “That knife’s a real flesh eater!” It seemed to be a very suitable moniker for the blade.

Largo-Mano Escrima

I knew of the Flesheater sometime before my introduction to its capabilities because I have attended a few of Sensei Advincula’s Isshin-ryu Karate seminars over the last several years. However, the real introduction occurred when I began practicing Largo-Mano Escrima with Richard Rosenthal, a fellow long-time Isshin-ryu Karate practitioner and a student of Escrima for the last 15 years.

Richard runs an escrima class on selected weeknights at the House of Hops in Raleigh, NC. Weather permitting, we train in the upper parking lot and then enjoy a few craft beers as well. It is a good time and a great workout!

vietnam

Of course, we don’t practice with live blades. I am partial to keeping my fingers attached to my hands. In addition, I am not too keen on being disemboweled. And, this blade excels in both areas of endeavor. Therefore, we use a hard rubber version of the blade. It is solid and will definitely leave bruises. Consequently, realism is not really an issue. Anyone interested can find the training version here. It is available from several third-party vendors.

It will be interesting to see what part this awesome blade plays in Montagnard when JD Cordell and a few of his fellow SEALs return to Vietnam on a mission that is highly personal in nature!

Certainly, whether hacking your way through a hoard of crazed terrorists, the dense jungles of Vietnam, or simply cleaning your fingernails, the Flesheater is the blade you should have on hand.

Read more great posts by clicking here!

Inspiration: The Story Behind Serpents Underfoot.

Why do authors write what they write?

inspiration

In discussions with some of my readers, the inspiration behind my military action thriller Serpents Underfoot comes up quite often. When I think about it, there are several factors that inspired me to write this novel.

While inspiration can certainly come from a lot of places, I will discuss what I think inspired me the most in writing this book, as well as what helped to shape how the story unfolds within the book’s pages.

In the battle between good and evil …

One point I would like to make before delving into the things that inspired me to write Serpents Underfoot, is that I believe good and evil are real and exist in this world. There are great many good men and women walking this planet. But, there are some evil men and women walking this planet as well.

What do I mean by “good?”

In my mind, it is important to never confuse a true character trait, such as being a good man or woman, with social skills. Social skills are things like charm, niceness, rapport, well-groomed, or personable. People use these social skills to achieve a result. But, they are tools people can turn on and off.

A character trait is something different. A character trait is deeply ingrained in who we are as a human being. It is part of our core belief system. There is a real difference.

For example, Jeffrey Dahmer could certainly be charming, nice, personable or well-groomed to get what he wanted; namely a new victim. He was not, however, what you would call a good man.

And, this matters because …

Sometimes, good men and women have to do things that are not nice. But they do them to protect the rest of us. They stand between the people they care about and the evil that exists in the world. It is their “code” that allows them to remain “good” while battling to protect the people and values they hold most dear.

My main protagonist in Serpents Underfoot, JD Cordell, is a U.S. Navy SEAL. His father is a U.S. Army Vietnam veteran. His grandfathers were veterans of WWII and Korea. Many of his ancestors fought to protect their country. JD’s mother is the daughter of an honorable and respected Vietnamese village leader butchered by the Viet Cong.

JD is a good man battling evil in the world because that is his job. And because for him, it is also a family tradition.

Inspiration from other authors

My love of reading certainly inspired me. First and foremost, I have always loved to read. I jokingly tell people that I could read before I could walk.

Second, I love books dealing with the struggle between good and evil; books that have a strong protagonist who overcomes seemingly insurmountable odds to go on and save the day.

Lastly, I firmly believe in many old-fashioned ideals that we seem to be in danger of losing in our society today. These ideals include things like honesty, integrity, truth, love, courage, honor, loyalty, and family. These are the ideals that define and create true heroes. And, these ideals, or lack there of, shape the actions of several of the characters in my book, Serpents Underfoot.

Inspiration from favorite books

It is because of this dynamic struggle between good and evil, and my respect for the men and women who are willing to put themselves between us and that evil, that I love books like Lone Survivor and American Sniper. Marcus Luttrell and Chris Kyle, whose stories are told in these books, are real people. And, they live by a code, a code based on the ideals mentioned above. That code helps makes them the men they are. And, it allows them to go bravely into the dark places of the world while still remaining “good men” at their core.

And, of course, there are events in my life …

inspiration

When I was a youngster, I wanted to be Batman when I grew up. Wouldn’t that be the greatest job ever? Imagine my disappointment in finding out I would probably never be rich enough to afford all those cool gadgets or a Bat Mobile! Obviously, I would have to do something else instead. Maybe James Bond?

Military service

Later, I enlisted in the U.S. Army and served in the infantry for four years. I served with a mechanized infantry unit in Germany, a straight-leg infantry unit in South Korea, and the 101st Air Assault Division at Ft. Campbell, KY. During my time with the 101st, we deployed to Panama where I graduated from the Jungle Warfare School.

Martial Arts

Over the years, I developed a keen interest in the Martial Arts and studied Isshin-ryu Karate for over 35 years. I never had much interest in tournaments or sport karate, but focused on self-defense and personal combat techniques. I still train today and currently hold a 5th Degree Black Belt.

Additional inspiration …

In my early forties, I graduated from the Advanced Executive Protection Program offered by Executive Security International as a Level I Certified Protection Specialist. It was fantastic training and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The program delved into the psychology of VIP protection, legal issues surrounding VIP protection, security details, courtroom defensible self-defense techniques, and defensive firearms training.

All of these things helped inspire and shape the story that grew into Serpents Underfoot. I suspect that, on some level, there is a little bit of me patrolling through the jungles of Vietnam, snatching a wanted terrorist in the mountains of Afghanistan, or battling terrorist assassins invading my family home in Knoxville, Tennessee.

I need to mention one final source of inspiration. That was my mother. My mother was a strong woman. She was independent, self-reliant, and had an indomitable spirit. She came from true Adirondack pioneer stock and was always ready for a new adventure.

While I did not plan it this way, several of the female characters in Serpents Underfoot evolved into very strong characters. JD’s mother, Mai, and Julie, who works for the CIA, both have a quiet strength that serves them very well in the situations in which they find themselves. Even Fatima, a deadly female Syrian assassin and cold-blooded killer, is a strong woman. But, unfortunately shaped by the environment in which she came of age. Perhaps that is why I get so many good reviews from women readers.

As I look at the America we now live in …

The last twenty or so years have ushered in some amazing changes in our society. Many have been good. However, some have not.

Ideals such as honor, integrity, honesty, family, loyalty, or just doing the right thing even when nobody is looking, often seem to be lacking in our current leadership. Certainly not all. But, with enough regularity that it has become alarming to me. These ideals predate even Christianity, going back to early Greek philosophy. They are the corner stones of western civilization and are essential elements of successful self-government.

Part of the inspiration for my writing this book was to fight back just a little bit by addressing some of these ideas through the events that unfold in a thrilling tale readers don’t want to put down. I wanted to remind people that good and evil do exist.

We all suffer from the condition of being human. Therefore, none of us are perfect. And, that comes out in the story as well. But I believe these values are very important to our identity as Americans and if we lose them, America as we know and love it, will cease to exist.

Edmund Burke once said, ”
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing!

I believe truer words have never been spoken.

Order your copy now!

If you would like to purchase a copy of Serpents Underfoot, click here for paperback or here for the Kindle version. Click here to read more of my blog posts.

Biology of Bears: #1 New Release

Adirondack Bear Tales takes the #1 spot for New Releases in two categories!

Biology of Bears

I released my collection of short stories about true encounters with black bears in the Adirondack Park of upstate New York in Early December. A friend contacted me and told me he’d seen that it made the #1 New Release in the category Biology of bears! I was shocked and thought “no way!” So, I went and checked. I discovered it was actually the #1 New Release in two categories: Biology of Bears and Biological Science of Bears

Biology of Bears

In this category, Adirondack Bear Tales sits in both the #1 and #2 spots with the paperback version in spot #1 and the Kindle version in spot #2. It beat out 17 other new releases to take these spots. How cool is that?

Biological Science of Bears

Likewise, in the category Biological Science of Bears, the Kindle version sits in the #1 New Release spot beating out 4 other new releases. Certainly, it would be nice to reach best seller status in these categories as well!

Fame is fleeting!

I know sooner or later, another new release will come along and kick Adirondack Bear Tales out of these spots. That’s okay. Getting there is motivational and rewarding for me personally. Hopefully, I can keep working things and get on the Best Sellers list for these categories. In addition, the process of learning about Amazon categories and getting my books listed correctly will be very valuable moving forward.

Adirondack Bear Tales

Adirondack Bear Tales is a collection of 11 short true tales of encounters with black bears in the Adirondack Park of upstate New York. Most involve members of my family who have tented and owned camps at Raquette Lake for generations. It is short … only about 50 pages. I think this makes it a quick delightful little read when something like that is needed! Most of the tales are humorous, one is a little sad. All of them are entertaining. They are great stories for children of all ages and certainly make for some enjoyable, relaxing reading.

I know you will enjoy them to!

You can order a copy by clicking on this link!

Read other great posts here!

Great Review of Serpents Underfoot by John Purvis

A Great Review for Serpents Underfoot by blogger, John Purvis!

book signing great reviewCheck out the great review of Serpents Underfoot by John Purvis on  his bog, John’s Notes!  John had some great things to see about the background and character development, and her gave me a 4.5 out of 5!  Awesome!

 

This novel starts with the deep background story of Cordell’s father when he was serving in Viet Nam. It carries forward to JD Cordell’s SEAL Team and other major characters in the plot. Far more background is developed in this novel than you would normally find. I also liked that the characters are down to earth with no “over the top” scenes of heroic combat.

 

While on his blog, please also take the time to check out the many other great posts! Especially if you are a Mac user.

via Review of “Serpents Underfoot”

Skadoosh! Another ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Review!

That’s right, I wrote Skadoosh! I am celebrating another Five Star Review for Serpents Underfoot!

What is skadoosh, you may ask? It’s a secret technique from the movie, Kung Fu Panda.  The “word” kind of stuck in my brain. I use it as an exclamation of thankful appreciation, kind of like ‘Bingo” or “Yippee.” My novel, Serpents Underfoot, has just scored another Five Star Review on Amazon.com!  So yes, I could have written “yippee,” but “skadoosh” just sounds so much cooler!

Thank you, Kathleen Palazzolo, for your great review and kind words. This makes a total of nine … not that I am keeping count or anything! Reviews like this really make it all worthwhile and I really appreciate the feedback.

I am hard at work on the sequel, Montagnard.  Of course, my goal is to make it even better than Serpents Underfoot.  I did learn a good deal writing the first novel, so this should turn out to be the case. Soon, I will be posting some teasers and sample chapters on my website.

It is Friday, so I hope everyone has a bodacious weekend ahead of them!

P.S. Please remember to occasionally check back here for updates … and, I do have an email subscription form! I promise not to spam anyone, but I will announce things like Advance Review Copies if anyone is interested in getting one … of course, that will be a bit off yet!

Survived my first official Book Signing!

And … a great time was had at the book signing!

Book Signing

My first Official Book Signing!

Tuesday, February 27th, I arrived at McKay’s Used Books and CD’s in Knoxville, Tennessee to set up for my first “commercial” book signing for Serpents Underfoot. The book signing was scheduled from 12:00 PM to 3:00 PM. It was a bit intimidating.  I mean, what if nobody buys a book? How silly would I feel then? Anyway, I got set up and waited. My daughter-in-law Leah, a great photographer, came by to take s few pictures for me. That was very kind of her, and she also did a great job!

The First Hour

The first hour went pretty slow. A few people looked as they passed by, but nobody stopped. I started to wonder if my initial worries might come true. Leah and I chatted about odds and ends, but book sales-wise, it was looking pretty grim. We noticed a military service member come in. He did stop by, and we chatted a bit. He was a Captain in the U.S. Army. I had served in the Army from ’79 to ’83, so we discussed Army life for a bit. I ended up giving him a book and signing it for him to thank him for his service. I figured, at least I could give one book away!

The Second Two Hours

Book SigningHowever, I think giving the book away started something!  A few minutes later I had sold a few books. People were stopping by and asking questions about the book, me, how long I’d been writing, etc. It was fun at that point. Then Brad Walker stopped by and chatted a few minutes. Brad is an Isshin-ryu colleague of mine and also sells real estate in Knoxville with Keller Williams. As time went on, I sold more books. All-in-all it was a great experience and a lot of fun. I am looking forward to doing more. I guess I will start in the Cary area, then maybe Charlotte and Asheville!

If I Missed You at the Book signing

Serpents Underfoot is available at several online booksellers: Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, and Books-A-Million. Anyone interested in acquiring a signed copy can always reach me through my website. I am willing to ship the book about anywhere. I have shipped one copy to the UK so far.

I am also working on the sequel, Montagnard, and will be posting excerpts in the not too distant future.

Onwards and upwards!

Book Signing

One More Thought!

If you have purchased a copy of my book, Serpents Underfoot, I want to express my sincere appreciation for your support!  If you read my book and you enjoyed it, please take the time to give it a review on whichever website you happened to purchase it from. Reviews are a big help to authors … especially good ones!

Book Signing at McKay’s Books in Knoxville!

My Very First Book Signing …

Five Star Review book signingHello friends! I will be having my very first book signing on Tuesday, February 27th, from 12:00 to 3:00 pm at McKay’s Books in Knoxville, Tennessee. This is pretty exciting! It is a lot of work establishing yourself and getting your name out there. Every little bit certainly helps. If you are out and about during this time period, I hope you will stop by and say hello!  And, maybe … even buy a book.  I will have both paperbacks and hardcovers available.  I will also have a sample chapter from my upcoming sequel. Please let your friends, family, and even acquaintances know …

Currently Available At …

Serpents Underfoot is currently available in paperback, hardcover, and Kindle versions on Amazon.com. It is now also available online from Barnes and Noble and Books-A-Million.  I guess it takes a lot of work to actually get a book on the shelf in the brick and mortar stores, but I am working on it!  I am also working to get it out on Audible, iTunes, and other media outlets.

Montagnard

Now I am busy working on the sequel to Serpents Underfoot.  I don’t want to put any spoilers in here, but it will involve a return to Vietnam, more Navy SEAL action, and some interesting twists and turns. It will be an interesting story … a lot of history, excitement, and of course … new adventures for JD Cordell and his faithful K9 partner, Ajax!  The research has been interesting. Because of their support of the American forces fighting in Vietnam, the Montagnard people were nearly wiped out by the communist government after the War. I have found that there is quite a large group of Montagnard folks that were resettled in the United States after the war and are now living near Cary here in North Carolina.

 

More to follow!