Tag: Action

Reciprocity: First look …

Prologue

Damn, it’s hot!

Taylor wiped the sweat from his forehead with a towel, then glanced across the make-shift ring at his opponent. The man was huge, definitely not Filipino.

Must be Samoan, Taylor thought. He’d seen a few Samoans during his time in the special forces and respected them. Solid operators.

Taylor stood just a bit under six feet in his socks and weighed in at a solid one-hundred-and-ninety-five pounds. His opponent was about four inches taller and a good bit heavier. He could also hit. The big man had trained, probably Muay Thai. While the Samoan’s technique was a bit sloppy, he moved like a Thai boxer; and his elbows and knees were wicked. It had been a punishing knee to Taylor’s ribs that had prompted the end of the first round.

These unsanctioned fights typically went for three rounds. However, there was no timer or bell, nor were there anything you could really call rules. If a fighter got injured, the center referee would pause the fight long enough to ensure the fighter could continue. That pause effectively ended the round. While a few fights Taylor had fought in had gone two rounds, he’d yet to see one make it to three. They were too brutal for that. Tonight was Taylor’s twelfth such fight.

A few weeks back, broke and badly in need of a drink, he’d stumbled into a bar that happened to be playing host to a local “fight night.” After watching the first two amateurs go at it, Taylor, unimpressed, started to leave. But then he saw the winner handed five thousand Philippine pesos, roughly the equivalent of one hundred and fifty dollars, so when the promoter called for two more volunteers, Taylor made his way out onto the dance floor.

The fight was short despite, or maybe because of, Taylor’s dire need for a drink. His training saw to that. Collecting his winnings, he’d headed straight to the bar and, after a few shots, felt steady enough to venture down the street to the liquor store where he picked up a bottle of his self-prescribed medication. From there, he’d stumbled back to his apartment.

Since that night, Taylor had participated in eleven more human cockfights. He’d lost the next two simply because he was too drunk even to stand, never mind defend himself. However, the instinct for self-preservation combined with the need for cash and Taylor modified his drinking habits enough to fit his fight schedule. Then he began to win, quickly becoming a favorite with several locals who started betting on him instead of the local Filipino fighters. As his winnings grew bigger, those betting on him began to win a great deal of money. His fans were happy. However, some of the local gangs began to take notice. They also had their favorite fighters, and they were not very pleased about constantly losing to this American drunkard.

This fighter, tonight, was the toughest Taylor had faced so far. Although they were pretty matched size-wise, this man was tough as nails and knew how to fight. That last knee to his ribs had hurt.

Lucky I don’t have a few broken ribs, Taylor thought.

He took a swallow from the beer he’d left sitting on a stack of crates when called up for his fight. The venue for tonight’s fight was an old warehouse along the Pasig River in the Tondo district of Manila. Tondo is the largest district in Manila in terms of area and population; it was also the district with the highest crime rate in the Philippines. Taylor figured there had to be at least one murder per week. Fortunately, most of these killings were drug-related and did not involve foreigners or tourists. However, he also knew some extremely dangerous men and women lived there.

While not precisely Madison Square Garden, someone had set up the rundown warehouse with chairs and tables circling a marked-off fight ring. A make-shift bar sat along one side of the building and seemed well-stocked.

A pungent combination of cigar, cigarette, and marihuana smoke filled the air, and the alcohol flowed freely. A sizable crowd of people had shown up for tonight’s event. Taylor had begun to notice that the clientele attending his fights had improved as he continued to win. More affluent spectators were now in the crowd; some appeared to be successful business people, and a few Taylor recognized as leaders of some of the more prominent local gangs. He saw fewer and fewer of the societal dregs who’d frequented his earlier fights in local dives. The fact that more women were now in attendance did not escape Taylor’s eye either. They were typically attractive women, often on the arms of well-dressed men. But then there were also a few women who seemed to be on their own. Two had caught his eye, especially since both had been present at his last two fights. They looked to be twin sisters, and both were stunningly beautiful.

The referee called. Wiping his forehead again and taking one last slug from his beer, Taylor made his way back into the center of the ring.

Time to end this before I screw around and get hurt.

The Samoan, confident he’d hurt Taylor badly with that last blow to the ribs, came on strong, pressing his advantage. First, he fired a hard cutting kick at Taylor’s right leg, which Taylor narrowly avoided; he immediately followed with a left jab, then a hard right elbow strike toward the temple. Taylor slipped the jab and raised his left forearm to deflect the elbow. It was what the Samoan fighter was waiting for, and he launched a brutal shin kick at Taylor’s bruised ribs.

Taylor shifted slightly to his right as his left arm dropped suddenly, hooking around his opponent’s kicking leg and trapping it against his left side. Ignoring the screaming pain from his badly bruised ribs, Taylor shifted back to the left and slightly forward, taking his opponent off balance. Grabbing the fighter’s windpipe in a vise-like grip, his right leg swept the Samoan’ ‘s left leg out from under him, driving his opponent to the floor. The big man hit hard. Taylor followed him down while maintaining control of his opponent’s right leg. He dropped his right knee into the man’s groin, and a loud groan escaped from the Samoan’s clenched teeth. Pressing the man’s leg toward his chest with his left shoulder, Taylor reached down with his left and grabbed a handful of hair. Jerking the man’s head around, he slammed his fist into the right side of the man’s massive jaw, which must have been chiseled from granite because it did not shatter. However, the Samoan still collapsed back onto the floor. He was out cold; the fight over.

Taylor released his grip on his opponent’s hair and stood up. Then, swaying just a bit, he paused, looking down at the unmoving form. Abruptly, Taylor turned and walked over to the stack of crates to finish his beer.

Okay, time to collect my money and get the hell out of here.

Sensing a presence behind him, he turned. A woman stood there looking up at him. It was one of the twins he’d spotted earlier. She was even more breathtaking up close. The woman smiled.

“That was a great fight. You are an excellent fighter.” She paused, her eyes boldly roving over his six-foot frame. “I have made good money from your last two fights.”

Taylor nodded. “Glad to hear that, ma’am. Now, if you will excuse me, I have to get cleaned up and collect my winnings. It was nice talking to you, ma’am.” He turned to walk away.

“Wait.”

Taylor paused and looked back.

“There is a shower here at the warehouse you can use if you like. And, I can make sure your money is safe until you are ready to leave.”

Taylor frowned, then chuckled. “Why would I do that,” he paused, “… trust you to keep my money safe?”

“I like you, and let’s just say I want to … uh … buy you a drink. After that, who knows.” She smiled again, then shrugged, leaving the possibilities hanging.

Taylor’s mind began to consider those possibilities.

I could use a drink, he thought.

And this lady was damn pretty, even if she did only come up to his chest. “You don’t think the owner of the warehouse would object to me using the shower?”

Again, the woman smiled. “I can guarantee it. I, well, technically, my sister and I own the warehouse. So, Taylor? What do you say? Can I call you Taylor? Or, would you prefer I call you something else?”

“Sure, Taylor will do. And what should I call you?”

“My name is Blessica, Blessica Baguinda.”

Taylor knew the name. Everyone in the Tondo district, and probably throughout the entire city of Manila, knew the name. Blessica and her sister, Mahalia, ran the Dalawang Mga Ate Na Mafia, or Two Sister’s Mafia.

Blessica saw the look on his face. “I see you have heard of me.”

Taylor nodded. “I have. You and your sister are, uh,” he paused, “shall we say, well-known in some circles.”

“Does it matter?”

Taylor thought about that, then shook his head. After all, he was not exactly a model citizen himself. “I guess not.”

Blessica smiled widely. “Great. Let me show you to the shower.”

More to follow …

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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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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Serpents Underfoot Wins Literary Award

As my old pal, Yosemite Sam, would say, “Great Horny Toads!”

Not only did Serpents Underfoot get a great review from Literary Titan, it also earned the Gold Book Award for May 2021! How about that! I was not expecting that and I am honored by the award.

And also, a bit humbled. It sets the bar even higher for the third book in this series, titled Reciprocity. But, I am hard at work, making sure that each book I publish is just a little bit better than the previous book. I am not sure I will always achieve that goal, but I can promise my readers that I will always try.

https://literarytitan.com/2021/05/03/literary-titan-book-awards-may-2021/


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My Spec Ops Fantasy

While I served in the US Army Infantry, I never had the opportunity to work my way up and into the spec ops community. However, I have had the honor of being good friends with several men who did, several of whom I met through the martial arts. So writing the stories I love to write involves relying on stories from those friends, research, and my wandering imagination.

Check out this author’s interview published on Titan Literary after Serpents Underfoot received another amazing 5-Star review.


Serpents Underfoot finds JD Cordell facing a terrorist group that plans to detonate nukes on US soil. What were some sources that informed this novel’s development?

This story grew out of thoughts I have had about what it would be like to be a Spec Ops warrior. I served in the military and spent most of my time overseas. I served in the Army infantry, and when I enlisted, I scored high enough on the ASVAB test to get Ranger School in my contract. Unfortunately, when they discovered I had a slight speech impediment, they would not send me to Ranger School. They were going to let me out because they couldn’t honor their end of the deal, but I asked to stay. Hell, I could still shoot pretty darn well. So, I guess it is, at least in part, a fantasy about what might have been.

Combine that with a lifetime study of martial arts, the political climate at the time, my interest in Asian culture, and you have the birth of this story.

The rest is simply a bunch of “what if” questions. For instance, what if a soldier in Vietnam married a Vietnamese girl who saved his life? What if their son became a Navy SEAL, and what if his team uncovered a major terrorist plot? What if it involved high-ranking US government officials? You get the idea …

JD Cordell is essentially a composite of several people I have known and respected. While I was a bit too young to serve in Vietnam, I was old enough to have several good friends who did. One friend, in particular, served as a medic on long-range reconnaissance patrols in the region the first few chapters of Serpents Underfoot is set in. I also know a couple of former Navy SEALS, one of which recently passed away. He was actually an Underwater Demolition Team member and served in the Mekong Delta region during the Vietnam War. The UDT teams were essentially forerunners of the Navy SEALs.

You can read the rest of the interview at:

https://literarytitan.com/2021/04/21/to-be-a-spec-ops-warrior/


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

There are several to choose from, all with great reviews.

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Holy Moly … I’m an artist!

Serpents Underfoot just received a 5-star review from Literary Titan!

Here us what they had to say.

  • If you are a fan of thrilling action  adventure novels, you are going to enjoy reading Serpents Underfoot, by DC Gilbert. 
  • Author DC Gilbert is an artist when it comes to leaving the reader captivated and yearning for more at the end of every chapter.
  • Readers are treated to a good dose of action, but always with a unique buildup that always ensures the action oriented pieces have a reason, and because of this the novel feels … more authentic,
  • The story never loses focus on its characters who are consistently engaging. With multiple exotic locations throughout the novel, I always felt like the team, and the story, was on the move.
  • Serpents Underfoot is a fantastic start to The JD Cordell Action Series.

You can read the entire review here: https://literarytitan.com/2021/04/12/serpents-underfoot/

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

There are several to choose from, all with great reviews.

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Book Review: “MONTAGNARD: A JD Cordell Action Thriller”

by John Purvis

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Author D.C. Gilbert (https://darrencgilbert.com) published the novel “MONTAGNARD: A JD Cordell Action Thriller ” in 2020. This is the second book in The JD Cordell Action Series. This is Mr. Gilbert’s third book. I published an interview with Mr. Gilbert in June of 2018.

I received a copy of this novel from the author in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘R’ because it contains scenes of violence and mature language. The story picks up a short time after the first novel “Serpents Underfoot” ends.

The primary character continues to be Former SEAL JD Cordell. After many years of service, Cordell retires taking his K9 Ajax with him. On his last active duty mission, Cordell rescues the very pretty young Doctor Ellen Chang. She was being held by terrorists in Niger. After his retirement, he finds she has come back to the States and has settled hear him. Romance is in full swing between the two.

Shortly after the death of her husband, Mai Cordell makes a trip back to Vietnam. She is trying to find her adopted brother, the Montagnard called Dish. Dish is a rebel wanted by the communist government. When a drug lord hears about her search, he kidnaps her and uses her for bait to draw out Dish.

Cordell heads to Vietnam as soon as he hears about his mother. While the US government can’t take direct action, they do assist Cordell. Two of his former SEAL Team members ‘volunteer’ to go with him. Will he be in time to save his mother and the uncle he has never met?

I thoroughly enjoyed the 8.5 hours I spent reading this 309-page thriller. I had enjoyed Mr. Gilbert’s prior novel in the series and this one was just as good! I like the chosen cover art. I give this novel a 4.5 (rounded up to a 5) out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

I have read a lot of Mr. Purvis’ reviews and other posts over the last few years, so this review means a lot to me because I know Mr. Purvis does give very fair reviews and calls things as he sees them. Therefore, I would just like to say thank you, John, for this review, and I am so glad you enjoyed the book.

And if you haven’t visited his blog, you should. Mr. Purvis covers a lot of interesting topics.

You can purchase a copy of Montagnard or any of my other books by clicking the button below.

It’s Alive…

Serpents Underfoot is live on Amazon with its new cover.

Serpents Underfoot is out with its awesome new cover! 1106 Design did a great job, and they were a pleasure to work with. If you are ever in the market for a book cover, check them out. They will shortly be redoing the cover for Montagnard as well.

If you haven’t read it, click here to buy it now!

Praise for Serpents Underfoot …

Resonant characters propel this consistently gripping terrorist tale.
All of the characters are well developed, producing genuine shock when certain individuals die.
The author writes in an unadorned prose that keeps the plot moving at a steady beat … the finale is … exhilarating.

Kirkus Reviews

Serpents Underfoot is the first book in the JD Cordell action thriller series! Full of Navy Seal action, the book will enthrall fans of action thrillers … The book has it all—authentic detail, breathless action, vividly drawn settings, and an exhilarating plot.

The Prairies Book Review

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

There are several to choose from, all with great reviews.

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Serpents Underfoot: New Cover Project

Below are the three new covers under consideration for my novel, Serpents Underfoot. I am always interested in what readers, supporters, and fans have to say about my work. It helps me improve as an author and keeps me motivated to work hard and keep my readers happy!

The question I am asking is not so much … which one do you like. It is more … which one piques your interest more or which one are you more inclined to buy?

Cover Design 1: This layout features a Navy SEAL at the top, balanced by the Vietnamese woman and Ajax below. The cover is filled with a subtle snakeskin texture.

Cover Design 2: This layout is a more traditional novel approach, with a large condensed title. The background is a subtle American flag.

Cover Design 3: This layout features JD Cordell and Ajax standing in front of the White House. There is a subtle snakeskin texture over the whole cover.

Okay, you’ve seen the covers! So, what do you think?

Montagnard: The Philippine Connection

Sometimes the strangest things happen.

I am hard at work on the third installment in the JD Cordell Action series, called Reciprocity, which will take on human trafficking. And in this story, some of the action occurs in the Philippine Islands. While still in the development stages, JD Cordell will travel to the Philippines, where he and a few associates will mete out some well-deserved justice to a gangland cartel trafficking girls between Asia, Mexico, and the US. But enough of that, I don’t want to give too much away.

My new Filipino fan base …

The interesting thing is that I just received a 5-Star review for Montagnard from a writer, blogger, and editor, based, you guessed it … in the Philippines. I think that is pretty cool!

Herzie Santos, a.k.a. SheySaints, has a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting and has worked for Coca Cola Bottlers, Goldprint Publishing House, AXA Financial, and Sutherland Global Services. Her professional experiences in several different work industries have provided her with a great deal of expertise, including professional writing skills. She has written and published poems, short stories, book and movie reviews, essays, and several articles. She’s also a content writer, book reviewer, proofreader, and fiction writer.

Here are a few comments from her review …

I miss stories like this. It gives me this unexplainable nostalgic feeling. I rarely read anything like this anymore and I’m glad I stumbled upon this great book.

It was a well-written action-packed thriller … I highly recommend this book to readers who love heroic military and dog stories.

Herzie Santos

You can read the rest of her review here if you like: https://sheysaints18.wordpress.com/2020/12/01/book-review-montagnard/

It makes me smile! I may not yet be a renowned author, but I am definitely international. Montagnard has been read and/or reviewed in the US, the UK, Canada, Australia, India, and now … the Philippines!

Click the button below to order your copy of this award-wing action-thriller.