Tag: Veterans

Deep South Creations

Meet Brandon and Nicole Prince

After serving in the Marine Corps for 8 years and as a police officer for 2 years, Brandon Prince received the unfortunate news that, due to a service-related disability, he could no longer serve his community as a police officer. Brandon took the news in typical Marine Corps fashion and simply turned to another of his passions – creating art pieces for people to enjoy. His wife, Nicole, is a partner in this wonderful enterprise.

Located in Upstate South Carolina, Deep South Creations offer personalized, custom woodworking, beautifully crafted and sure to last for years, becoming family heirlooms.

Veterans Referring Veterans

I met Brandon while presenting at one of the Veterans Referring Veterans’ Thursday night virtual “Happy Hours.” I joined the VRV several months ago as a veteran author. The VRV is a great online directory and networking tool for validated veteran-owned businesses of all kinds. It turned out that Brandon likes to read, and I ended up shipping him a copy of one of my books.

Loyal For Life

My stories are action-adventure yarns involving military or retired military personnel and being a dog lover, include K9s. One K9 character, a Belgian-Malinois Trident dog, named Ajax, has become a real favorite for many readers. Ajax is quite a heroic animal and saves the day on many dangerous missions. After seeing some of Brandon’s work, I decided I wanted something special as a tribute to Ajax and other “non-fictitious” K9 service members. I talked to Brandon and what he came up with really blew me away. I absolutely love it!

Once he was finished with the piece, Brandon contacted me for my shipping address. But after being socially-distanced for over a year and learning he was only a couple of hours away, I asked if he minded if I picked it up. He didn’t mind at all. It was an excuse for a nice little “road trip” and a chance to meet two wonderful people and fellow VRV members.

Brandon and Nicole at Deep South Creations turn out some stunning work. There are wooden flags, duty racks, cut-outs, signs, etc., all created onsite in the shop behind their house. Unfortunately, I can’t display them all here in this blog post, so you need to visit them on their website, Facebook page, or Instagram! Deep South Creations offers discounts to active duty, veterans, law enforcement, and other first responders.

Do yourself a favor and check out Deep South Creations, and support this amazing veteran-owned small business.

A Shimmer of Hope

This evening I was walking back from taking out the trash when a group of 4 young boys (probably ages 10 to 14) came by riding their bicycles. They stopped, and one yelled at me, “Hey, mister.”

Here we go, I thought.

Then he just asked me, “Do you like bikes?”

I told him at one time I loved bikes and used to ride all over town on my Royce Union 10-speed with no hands … and I could ride a wheelie for forever! Then I laughed and told him, “But, that was long ago, though.”

Then another one of them asked, “How about skateboards?”

I laughed again and replied, “Do I look like I should be on a skateboard?” They all laughed at that. One said he was going to be the next Tony Hawk!

The one boy proceeded to tell me he did all kinds of tricks on his BMX bike and showed me how well he could ride a wheelie. It was pretty impressive, I must say.

We joked around for a few more minutes. Finally, one of the boys said that they needed to get going. So, I told them all to have a great evening. They waved and started off. Then one stopped and turned back to me.

“Are you a veteran?” he asked.

“I am,” I replied. I was wearing an R.E.D. T-shirt.

“Thank you for your service,” he stated. Then went on after his friends. I must admit I was surprised. He was maybe 13 …

But I smiled inside. There may still be hope!

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: Another Home Run

Montagnard just received another 5-Star review

One thought behind Serpents Underfoot and Montagnard …

Over the past years, it became “fashionable” to bash US service members serving worldwide while making saints out of the other side. Nowhere was this more apparent than during the war in Vietnam, when we had Hanoi Jane posing for pictures with North Vietnamese artillery units and passing a POW’s hopeful message home on to the commander of the Hanoi Hilton prison, a place where so many American servicemen (including John McCain) were imprisoned and tortured. That was a national disgrace!

And it is not always intentional. The Vietnam War film by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick, in my opinion, tried to give a truthful picture of the Vietnam War. However, we can rarely escape inserting our own views into what we create. While most who viewed this film praised it for its neutrality and fairness, and accurate portrayal of the war, many Vietnam Veterans I have spoken with, are still left with a bad taste in their mouths when watching this film because, at least in their view, it still portrays the American servicemen in a somewhat undeserved negative light.

Yes. Bad things happen in war. We all (well, at least those who bother to learn a little history) remember the My Lai Massacre. Unfortunately, war can bring out the worst in people as well as the best. But I would venture to say that at least 95 percent of American servicemembers serve their county honorably. That fact seems to get lost.

It was my intention, starting with Serpents Underfoot and continued in Montagnard, to write stories that would portray American servicemembers in a positive light because that is what the vast majority of them deserve. Being an old veteran myself, it still upsets me to hear some schmuck bad-mouth the very same people who fought for that schmuck’s right to bad-mouth them. And, far more often than not, the bad-mouthing is undeserved. Anyway, that was my goal. Readers will notice, I included all branches of service in Serpents Underfoot and several of them in Montagnard. There are even references to the British SAS, SBS, and the Israeli Defense Force. These are those who fight to preserve freedom around the globe.

I am happy when readers pick up on this …

And several of them have. There are comments in reviews like …

  • This story gives insight into the bravery of men like these who risk their lives to save others. (Montagnard)
  • You will find an astounding emotional impact as you walk beside men like JD and his K9 partner, Ajax, risking their lives to protect other people. (Montagnard)
  • A good job of describing the real Vietnam war and the inhuman crimes committed, not by US servicemembers but by the Vietcong and North Vietnam army. (Serpents Underfoot)

That is why a review like this one from DeeDee means so much to me!

Great story; very well written. Loved all the characters. This book, like your last one, had me from the beginning. JD is amazing and is an Isshin-ryu expert to boot. This book has it all. It makes you proud to be an American, has believable love stories and great action throughout. Loved it.

DeeDee

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Remembering a WWII Veteran

I got an email from my dad this afternoon telling me his Uncle Bob passed away today. He was 95. My Great Uncle Bob was a WWII veteran, serving in the Army Air Corps on Okinawa at the end of the war.

In the email, my dad mentioned that when he was born, the whole Widmer clan lived in the same house in Herkimer, NY. By the time my father was a toddler, he’d identified Bob as his favorite uncle. Bob would take my dad to the playground and kept a watchful eye on him as he grew older. All the time Uncle Bob was in the Army, he would send my dad a dollar each month to put in a bank he had given him. When he returned from overseas, Uncle Bob took my dad and the money, bought my dad’s first bicycle, which he taught him to ride.

Uncle Bob was not drafted until July of 1945, and Japan surrendered in August of 1945. Hence, the war was over before he arrived at Kadena Air Base on Okinawa, where he served as an aircraft mechanic. As I understand it, he worked on B-29s and P-47s, which continued to fly air defense and other missions during the occupation. Bob received a commendation signed by President Harry Truman for his service.

I still remember going to my Great Uncle Bob’s house as a very young boy and playing with his two girls, Ellen and Ruth. We would also see them at Raquette Lake in upstate New York and at family reunions. I guess Ellen and Ruth would be second cousins. Uncle Bob and Aunt Lillian were wonderful people, and these are such great memories. American has lost another one of its heroes.

He was truly a wonderful man.

Remembering Pearl Harbor

A date which will live in infamy …

Pearl Harbor still serves as a U.S. naval base near Honolulu, Hawaii. On December 7, 1941, Pearl Harbor was the target of a devastating surprise attack by Japanese naval forces. Just before 8 a.m. on that Sunday morning, hundreds of Japanese aircraft attacked the base, managing to destroy or damage nearly 20 American naval ships, including eight battleships, and over 300 airplanes. More than 2,400 Americans died in the attack. These casualties included civilians. Another 1,000 people were wounded. The day after the assault, President Franklin D. Roosevelt asked Congress to declare war on Japan.

So we remember our heroes, those brave men and women who put their lives on the line to protect what American is and means in this world.

Today we remember, but does that remembrance last?

I see the chaos of this 2020 election unfold around me, and I wonder.

Despite the mass media’s repeated denials, more and more evidence of fraud surfaces. Votes being changed by Dominion algorithms, votes disappearing, and sacks of other votes magically appearing. While they are not widely reported, they are certainly there. But still, the rush to erase voting machine memory, to certify what cannot be verified. Why? If all is on the up and up, why the rush?

American Combat Veterans are now demanding a complete audit of the Georgia vote. These are your heroes, folks. These are the people who fought for you. I think we owe them that. I also think there needs to be a complete audit of the entire election. If Joe Biden truly won the election, an accurate, validated recount will substantiate that fact. If massive fraud did occur as I fear it did, it would be proven, and those guilty would be discovered and dealt with.

But for this American, the 2020 election will never be legitimate … until that investigation and audited recount occurs. This 2020 election is a dark smear on the character of the American people.

Are Americans and American ideals still worth fighting and dying for?

I once read a plaque that was inscribe with a poem Eleanor Roosevelt carried around in her pocket during World War II. It read …

Dear Lord,
Lest I continue
My complacent way,
Help me to remember that somewhere,
Somehow out there
A man died for me today.
As long as there be war,
I then must
Ask and answer
Am I worth dying for?

I read that plaque many years ago, and it profoundly touched me; heart and soul.

It breaks my heart to say this, but today, if Eleanor Roosevelt asked me that same question, I would have to answer her, sadly – “maybe not.”

Happy Thanksgiving

To all my family, friends, readers, fellow-bloggers, service members, police, first responders, and fellow veterans everywhere, I wish you a heartfelt Happy Thanksgiving.

I thought I would share a few interesting Thanksgiving quotes I discovered …

When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around.

Willie Nelson

Gratitude is the ability to experience life as a gift. It liberates us from the prison of self-preoccupation.

John Ortberg

After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one’s own relations.

Oscar Wilde

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.

President John F. Kennedy

You oughta be thankful, a whole heaping lot, For the places and people you’re lucky you’re not!

Dr. Seuss

O Lord that lends me life, Lend me a heart replete with thankfulness

William Shakespeare

Gratitude is a gift we all should share more of. And, I’d be very grateful for another piece of that pumpkin pie!

D.C. Gilbert

Helping those who served to protect us all.

Today, a Veterans Referring Veterans social is being held at Four Brothers Mead in Festus, Missouri. Sadly, I was unable to attend due to a previous engagement. These are a great bunch of people.

A Silent Auction for a Great Cause

At this social, a silent auction is being held to raise money for Lukas, the young son of a Marine Corp veteran and the owner of True Allegiance Flag Co, who was recently diagnosed with Leukemia.

Rob, the owner of this amazing veteran-owned company, makes rustic wooden American flags you can proudly display in your home or office.

A signed set of my JD Cordell Action Series books was donated for this auction, as well as many other amazing products from veteran-owned businesses across the nation.

Meet Lukas

#FightLikeLukas

Lukas was taken to the local emergency room on Friday, October 16, 2020 for fever, bruising, and soreness. After blood work, it was discovered that Lukas’s platelets were extremely low and his white blood cell count was extremely high. The doctors decided to transport Lukas via ambulance to Children’s Hospital in St. Louis (2 hours away from home). 

It was there, around 1:30am, October 17, 2020, that the doctors delivered the news to Lukas’s parents that he has Leukemia. It was determined they would immediately start a blood transfusion to get his platelet count up (which had dropped even lower since the previous test), then later on in the day decide which type of Leukemia he has and start chemotherapy Monday, October 19, 2020. 

Later that day, it was determined that Lukas has Type B Leukemia (which apparently is the better of the two types). The plan to start chemotherapy Monday is still in place, and no surgery or radiation will be needed. He will also have a bone marrow biopsy and spinal type very soon. Lukas will be in the hospital for 2-3 weeks as of right now.

Jessie and Rob have 4 other children between the two of them that will be at home during this time. Jessie has two full time jobs, and Rob owns his own business making fantastic works of art out of wood. However, with them being two hour away from home and family, neither of them will be able to work during this time to provide for their family. 

It is our hope to be able to raise enough money for lodging, gas money, food, and ALL bills while their little family undergoes this hardship. We know that our God is a mighty God and He will provide!! Thank you for taking the time out of your day to support this magnificent family!

I know a lot of people are having a tough time right now, but …

If you can and would like to help, donations are also welcomed on their GoFundMe account, https://www.gofundme.com/f/fightlikeLukas. No donation amount is too small.

Behold, an Ashen Horse

A gripping alternative history by Lee and Vista Boyland

Description

Alternative history is fiction based on the assumption one or more historical events happened differently. For example, what if President Lincoln had not been assassinated, how would Lincoln’s survival have affected America?

Behold, an Ashen Horse is the second novel of a five book (so far) series based upon three alternate historical events: (1) the Soviet Union attempted to copy both of the Atomic Bombs developed by the Manhattan Project; (2) al-Qaeda obtained several atomic devices; and (3) President Bush was not reelected in 2004.

Islamists believe they have to convert the world to Islam ruled by Shariah Law and they will use any weapon available to kill infidels. Now they have used nuclear devices to destroy five U.S. cities. George Alexander, the secretary of Homeland Security is the only surviving senior government official and it is up to him to save the nation. Once again America is blessed by having right man for the job. Alexander forms a working government, pulls the nation together, deals with hostile nations, domestic jihads, unhappy progressive-liberals, and the new Caliphate before seeking retribution from those responsible.

Alexander is statesman president who puts America’s need first. Much of this story is found in today’s news.

After this novel was released in 2007, the authors received several emails in 2008 asking if Donald Trump was President Alexander? We answered maybe. Now readers can answer the question for themselves.

Behold, an Ashen Horse is a frighteningly realistic story of events after a nuclear 9/11.

My thoughts …

This is the second book in a series by this author. I have actually not read the first book, titled Rings of Allah, but I still enjoyed this one immensely. I did read Revolution 2016 by this author and really liked it as well.

In this story, President George Alexander, the Secretary of Homeland Security in the previous installment, must decide how to defend the United States and get the government operational again after a nuclear attack takes out 5 major U.S. cities, the President, his cabinet, and the Congress.

The new president stops apologizing for America and throws political correctness right out the window as he fights to hold the nation together and identify those responsible for the horrific attack. And when he lets loose the dogs of war, the new president puts the entire world on notice.

I was struck by how well the authors blend this narrative into current events and the internal strife currently dividing our nation, making the possibilities this alternative history present hit just a little to close for comfort.

Lee Boyland is a veteran and an accomplished writer with extensive knowledge of military weapons, the armed forces, the structure of the American government. He is quite knowledgeable about Islam. I have read several books on Islam as well as the Koran. While this is clearly an alternative history, you only need to read an honest English language version of the Koran to confirm the plausible reality of Boyland’s narrative.

I highly recommend this book to those who enjoy this kind of fiction.

CBD Path

Is it truly another path to wellness

Last night was another Veteran Referring Veterans Happy Hour hosted by Justin, our peerless leader! I really have been getting a lot from these happy hour discussions. But to be honest, last night, I nearly skipped the session because of the topic. The presentation would be from a veteran-owned CBD company, and I simply was not a fan of what I considered the whole CBD fad.

But finally deciding not to skip the happy hour, I grabbed a cold one and joined the Zoom session. And now, I have to man-up and admit I was wrong in my initial judgment. This became a prime example of why “keeping an open mind” can be such a great concept.

About CBD Path

CBD Path is a company founded by Mike and Claudia Donnelly. Mike served his country as a Navy SEAL for nearly a decade. As you can imagine, Mike understands full well what it means to put a lot of extremely rigorous mileage on your body, as well as the benefit of maintaining your health, strength, and wellbeing.

Both Mike and Claudia are amazing people, and I was immediately struck by the sincerity and honesty of their presentation. Mike joked that Claudia was the brains of the outfit, and he was the brawn. Mike had already started several businesses, being a self-described serial entrepreneur. He is also very active, giving back to the veteran community by serving as a board member for the National Navy UDT-SEAL Museum and the Trident House. Mike also volunteers throughout the year in fundraising events across the country to raise money for the families of fallen SEALs. When he isn’t working or volunteering, Mike works out, extremely committed to a lifestyle of health, fitness, and training.

Mike and Claudia had seen first-hand the effects of prolonged combat duty on their friends, fellow SEALs, and other veterans. These effects included PTSD, anxiety, depression, amputated limbs, burns, insomnia, among others. Over time they began to also hear about some of their friends and other veterans having some success alleviating their symptoms with CBD products.

Claudia began to do some serious research.

Mike described a fellow SEAL who’d lost limbs and suffered from PTSD and chronic pain, and who experienced real relief from using CBD oil.

Another friend (also a SEAL) has a son who had lost a limb in a bad motorcycle accident, had undergone several surgeries, and suffered a great deal of pain from the damage, and who experienced real relief from CBD.

Friends called in tears, when their son, who hadn’t slept a wink in many weeks, got several hours of real sleep after trying a CBD product.

While CBD is certainly not a miracle drug and is not for everyone and everything, it does have a real history of success if you know where to look.

And even aspirin does not work for everyone.

Here are some things I did not know.

Most of the research available on CBD products and health is found in Israel and Australia. Both of these countries have done a great deal of research on this topic … including using CBD products to treat children with autism, Asperger’s Syndrome, or PTSD associated with abuse. The US is woefully behind in this area.

CBD was a commonly used treatment for ailments until about 100 years ago, just about the time “big pharma” began to emerge. I guess it could be coincidental, but if you can grow it in your back yard, they can’t control it or make a profit from it.

There are several types of CBD products available.

Full Spectrum vs Isolate

Not all CBD is the same. Mike and Claudia offer both full-spectrum CBD products and CBD isolate products. Full-spectrum CBD is CBD also containing trace amounts of other naturally occurring cannabinoids (CBG, CBC, CBN, THC < 0.3%), terpenes, and flavonoids found in the hemp plant. These individual components are believed to work together in a phenomenon called the entourage effect, potentially boosting CBD’s natural therapeutic effects.

Some people find that full-spectrum works best for them, while others prefer isolate. If one isn’t quite getting the job done, you may have better results with the other.

CBD is referred to as a “promiscuous” molecule because it acts upon several different non-psychoactive pathways in the body: the TRPV channels, GABA receptors, 5HT1A (serotonin) receptors. It is also called “biphasic” because in different dosages it can have different effects.

The 2018 Farm Bill legalized the production, sale, and consumption of hemp and hemp-derived compounds like CBD. In order to be classified as hemp and not as cannabis (they are genetically the same species), a plant has to be tested by a third-party lab and proven to contain les than 0.3% THC content.

So, in other words, CBD is not pot!

More about CBD Path

CBD Path is a company that manufactures and distributes only the best quality CBD (this is not 7-eleven CBD) to its customers. Their products are all produced in certified hemp manufacturing facilities. They offer advice, support, and education. Each product they sell has a QR code on the label you can scan to verify the source of the hemp and the certificates of analysis.

They did not just jump on the bandwagon, they are doing it for the right reason and in the right way.

CBD Path

Visit their great website to learn more and check out all the information available.

After this presentation, I had a very different view of CBD and its uses as a health and wellness supplement. But it is very much a “buyer beware” market with many unscrupulous distributors jumping on the CBD wagon with inferior products. If you find CBD is something you are considering trying, these are definitely the folks you will want to talk to right here!

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