Tag: Vietnam

The Response to Montagnard

I continue to be blown away by the response to my newest release, Montagnard. It is mindblowing, motivating, and humbling, all at the same time. I just received another review from an award-winning author I respect and whose work I enjoy reading.

While the response to my first book, Serpents Underfoot, was mostly positive, and it has gotten some excellent reviews, it was also my first book. So I know there were some rough spots and a lot of room for improvement. It did receive some “mediocre” reviews, and a couple of reviews really blasted it.

The truth is that it was Lee Boyland’s review of Serpents Underfoot that help motivate me to continue writing and begin this second book, Montagnard. Especially after a couple of those harsh reviews. While Lee stated that there was certainly room for improvement, all the elements of a great story were there, and that he felt I would improve with time. For that reason, this review has a great deal of meaning to me.

Below are a few of Lee’s comments on Montagnard. You can read the entire review by clicking here. I hope you will read it, and then check out my book. The reason I write is that I love to tell stories, and I would really like to hear what you think about it.

A great story continues

The author has written a great sequel to his first novel, Serpents Underfoot. Two generations of warriors, the father, a special forces officer fighting in Vietnam, and his son, a SEAL master chief, bring to life a story that began in the highlands of Vietnam, circled through Africa, the Middle East, Thailand, and then returns to Vietnam. Bravery, valor, honor, comradeship, revenge, and love with realistic combat and martial arts scenes kept this reader enthralled and turning the pages.

….. The story has believable characters (including strong women and a dog that I loved). ….. The Bangkok bar, Obsession, is a hoot.

The author does an excellent job of describing battles in Vietnam, Africa, and the Middle East. Readers with no military background will gain a feel for what modern limited combat is like. I found the plot, geography, weapons, and people believable. And I can’t wait to read the next book.

Lee Boyland, Award Winning Author

Thank you, Lee. I really appreciate your support!

And be sure to check out Lee Boyland’s book on Amazon as well. I reviewed one of them here.

Montagnard Receives a 5-Star Editorial Review

The Prairies Book Review just gave Montagnard a pretty awesome review.

In this swiftly paced, thrilling second installment in Gilbert’s The JD Cordell Action series, the situation, the enemies are new, but the heroes aren’t: JD Cordell and his four-legged companion Ajax return to take readers on an exhilarating journey to Vietnam for a rescue mission.

After completing his last mission in Niger, JD is ready to retire with his K9 partner Ajax. But after his father’s unexpected death, Mai, JD’s mother, travels to Vietnam to see her adopted brother Dish, a Montagnard rebel who is on the Vietnamese government’s most wanted list, and accidentally steps into a blood feud between her brother and a powerful Vietnamese drug lord. JD must come to Vietnam and face the vicious enemy.

Despite the book’s high action theme, JD’s relationship with his four-legged companion remains heartbreakingly personal throughout. Gilbert weaves the multiple plot threads with skill and effortlessly moves his protagonists through a series of explosive combat zones. The characterization is first-rate: Ajax is real enough to touch, and JD with his passion, intelligence, caliber, and sensitivity make for a worthy hero. The action is first-rate and the plotting intricate and clever. A horde of twists and nerve-wracking action scenes mark the final battle between the vicious enemy and JD’s team.

You can read the rest of the review here! Still waiting to see what Titan Literary and Kirkus have to say!

I may have to get a bigger hat!

Montagnard receives a second 5-Star review!

I was very humbled and honored to receive another 5-star review for my new release, Montagnard. This review is especially meaningful to me because it is from a fellow author who is also a Vietnam War veteran.

And Glyn Haynie is not just any veteran. During his 20-year career, he was awarded the Silver Star, Purple Heart, two Meritorious Service Medals, three Army Commendation Medals, three Army Achievement Medals, the Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm, Vietnam Service Medal, Combat Infantry Badge, French Commando Badge, Drill Instructor Badge, and Army Recruiting Badge.

I would bet that he probably has seen or had dealings with the Montagnard people while serving in Vietnam.

In full disclosure, I have read most of his books, and if you are even remotely interested in the Vietnam War and its veterans, I highly recommend them. His works include both memoirs and works of fiction.

Here is an excerpt from his review …

A must-read for anyone that read Gilbert’s first book, “Serpents Underfoot.”

I was happy that the author decided to write a second book about JD Cordell. The trip back to Vietnam was surreal. The characters were well developed and believable. The story centers on JD’s mother, Mai, returning to Vietnam to find her adopted brother, Dish, and she is kidnapped. JD and Ajax, with members of his SEAL team, head to Vietnam to find them.

Glyn Haynie

If interested, you can read this and other reviews here!

I hope you will check Montagnard out! The Kindle version is now available, the paperback will be in stock any day now, and the hardcover will be available July 1st! Click here to visit Montagnard on Amazon.com

Montagnard Paperback Release!

I am proud to announce the release of my new novel, Montagnard!

The paperback version of Montagnard is now available at Amazon.com. The hardcover will be available June 30th. It should also soon be available online at Barns & Noble and Books-A-Million.

In addition, it has received its first review … 5 Stars.

This review is special to me because it is from someone who very much enjoyed the story despite not being a huge fan of the military action genre. This reviewer found several threads in the story that she enjoyed even though the language and action were a bit outside her comfort zone. You don’t know how much I appreciate that. You can read the entire review here!

Action thriller indeed …

… If you enjoy details about martial arts and weaponry, combined with a well-woven thriller, you’ll enjoy this. I was more taken with a couple of threads of the story that hinted toward redemptive outcomes after such scenes of human despair left behind after the Americans pulled out of SE Asia.

Joy Neal Kidney

Thank you, Joy, for the honest and great review.

Your support is truly appreciated.

You can order your very own copy of Montagnard, by clicking on the links below!

Kindle

Paperback

Oops! Minor technical difficulty with the paperback copy. My apologies! Should be available later today! My fault … not Amazon’s.

Hardcover

Please, if you enjoy the read, take a minute to write a review and let me know what you thought.

And, I hope you will take the time to check out some of my other blog posts by clicking here!

Montagnard: Kindle version now available!

Well, it’s here! The promised sequel to Serpents Underfoot. I have worked very hard to make this book better than the first, and if I say so,, I think I succeeded. I hope you will read it. And, I am definitely interested in hearing your comments!

To order your kindle copy of Montagnard for the introductory price of only $2.99, click here!

One former USAF pilot said …

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and liked it better than the first one. The first one got a little tedious to read due to the (understandably long) historical setup sections that weren’t tied together until much later. I felt that I wanted to understand the context, and then it jumped to the next section for a long time without any ties to the previous one. This book was much better, and I enjoy books that carry the main characters through to the next.

Bob Starr, former USAF pilot

Check out Montagnard on Amazon.com.

And if you haven’t read Serpents Underfoot, you might want to check it out as well. While I have improved my writing in Montagnard, Serpents Underfoot is still a good read with about 30 Five Star Reviews.

Montagnard Update, May 19th

A little progress each day adds up to big results!

I had a great call with my editor this afternoon, and I was excited because I was finally going to see the edits she had made to Montagnard. Unfortunately, this turned out to be precisely what did not happen. There will be a delay of a couple of days.

However, we did go over some of the notes she had jotted down during her editing process. For example. there were comments like:

  • Pace and flow are very good. Great character development. Good detail, but not overboard. No Fluff.
  • The narrative speaks to the reader. Good dialogue. Shows, not tell. Likes the word “however” a bit too much. (Corrected)
  • Great how friendship is developed among the team members.
  • Romance is good, well-done. Didn’t make me roll my eyes!
  • Spaghetti and meatballs are Italian/American. Won’t find in Northern Italy. (Corrected)

I was flabbergasted when she said, “I would put this work up against the top writers in the genre. The book is fantastic – very well written.

So then, what is the hold up, you may ask.

Montagnard is now being reviewed by subject matter experts!

My editor comes from a Navy family – with a long history of military service and many retired military friends. It seems she thought the book was good enough that she wanted to share it with some subject-matter experts and get some feedback from them.

So, Montagnard is now in the hands of several clandestine readers. I can’t say anymore, or they might have to kill me. That would not be good because I want to write a few more books.

One expert has responded, stating, “It doesn’t bother me.” And, according to my editor, that is very high praise indeed. This particular person doesn’t normally like to read stuff like this because it usually upsets him, leading to comments like, “They wouldn’t do that,” “You couldn’t make that shot with a rifle like that,” or simply, “That’s bullshit!” We are awaiting feedback from the remaining three. Hopefully, in the next day or two.

While I was initially disappointed by the delay. I am now thrilled. Folks, I really think it’s going to be pretty darn good. I do hope you will want to check it out.

I’ll keep you posted.

Montagnard Release Update

I just got an amazing update from my editor!

And it made my entire year! I should have the edited copy back by the end of the week and will soon be able to schedule the release date. It is a struggle to be patient with this process. While I seem to have endless patience with other people, I have never been very patient with myself. I am learning, however.

My editor is Beth Kallman Werner, the Founder and President of Author Connections, and author of Real Women’s Stories 2018. Real Women’s Stories is a collection of stories written by strong, independent women. It tells the tales of mothers, daughters, women who survived violence and abuse, built empires, traded routine for adventures, honored their families, and share thought-provoking stories that give new meaning to the term “going home.”

About Montagnard …

It seems the whole world is on hold for a bit. Thankfully, books carry on! I’m finishing up the first round. The book is fantastic.

… I’m thankful that even in quarantine, I can be outdoors in a private space … Thank you for the distraction of MONTAGNARD. I’ll always remember what I worked on this year.

Beth Kallman Werner

So, thank you, Beth, for the great comment and encouragement. I can’t wait to get the book back and continue on with the publishing process. And for those who are willing to give Montagnard a read, I really think you will enjoy it.

I believe Montagnard will read well as a stand-alone novel; however, a few sections might make a bit more sense to the reader if they have first read the book, Serpents Underfoot. Granted, it was my first, and there are a few uneven spots early on, but it smooths out nicely and is still a great read.

Check it out here!

Tunes for Tuesday: Get Off My Cloud!

Ladies and Gentlemen! The greatest rock band in the world … The Rolling Stones!

It took a while for me to come to appreciate The Rolling Stones. But once I did, I was a huge Stones fan, all the way up to the release of Some Girls in 1978. That’s where they lost me. I felt they had lost their roots and had gone commercial. I stick with the early stuff!

The Rolling Stones formed in London in 1962 and were at the forefront of the British Invasion. The original line up of the band included Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Brian Jones, Charlie Watts, Bill Wyman.

You Can’t Always Get What You Want (Recorded live in London, 1968)

Over the years, I acquired many of their early albums, including Beggars Banquet, Let It Bleed, Sticky Fingers, Goats Head Soup, It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll, Black and Blue, and the live album Hot Rocks.

Several Stones songs were very popular with the soldiers serving in Vietnam including Gimme Shelter, Get Off My Cloud, Sympathy For The Devil, and Paint It Black.

Sympathy For The Devil (Tokyo Dome, 1990)

Like many bands, The Stones have had a few personnel changes over the year. Mick Taylor replaced Brian Jones, who died about a month later. Taylor was then replaced by Ron Wood. Current band members are still Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts, and Ronnie Wood.

Gimme Shelter (Bridges to Babylon Tour, 1998)

The Rolling Stones have performed over 2,000 concerts around the world beginning at the Marquee Club in London in 1962. During the 2006 Bigger Bang tour, the Stones performed in Rio de Janeiro for an audience of 1.5 million people

Paint It Black (Hyde Park, 2013)

During Middle School dances, the song Angie was the best slow dance song where we’d get out on the gym floor, belly rub, and try to steal a kiss from our girlfriends when the chaperones weren’t looking.

Angie (Goats Head Soup, 1973)

During my first year of college at Southeastern Massachusetts University, we had a guy in our dorm suite who was a great Mick Jagger impersonator. He would wrap a scarf around his neck, put on a Stones album, and keep us entertained for a long time.

I had another friend at SMU who embroidered his own Rolling Stones logo on the back of his denim jacket. He actually did a great job. It looked good. How’s that for DIY?

Were The Rolling Stones the greatest rock band in the world?

While you take the time to consider this, just go ahead and

Get Off My Cloud (1965)

And the list could go on and on; Wild Horses, Jumping Jack Flash, Mothers Little Helper, It’s Only Rock and Roll, Nineteenth Nervous Breakdown, Dance Little Sister, Satisfaction, Midnight Rambler, Let’s Spend the Night Together, Street Fighting Man, Brown Sugar, etc., etc., etc.

Many will argue over whether The Rolling Stone was the greatest rock and roll band in the world or not. But bear in mind, the videos in this post cover 50 years. And, the audiences didn’t seem to be getting any smaller.

Vietnam Nurse: Mending & Remembering

Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg 2009-13 Kansas Poet Laureate had this to say.

Combining narrative and poetry, photos and documents, Lou Eisenbrandt’s Vietnam Nurse tells the compelling story of how a Midwestern woman, born with a little wanderlust and a lot of courage, found herself serving as a nurse in Vietnam during some of the most dangerous and damaging stretches of the war in the late 1960s and early 1970s. During her service, Eisenbrandt encounters life-changing stories, most notably her own, as she writes in one of her poems, that spark “Songs of love and loss, of sweat-drenched nights and blood-smeared days.” Since the war and through her many return journeys to Vietnam, Eisenbrandt shows us her deepening commitment to service, widening search for truth, and enduring creation of a life that matters.

A bit more about the author

Lou grew up in a small Illinois town and decided to join the Army to “see the world.” After graduating as a Registered Nurse in June 1968, she went on to attend basic training, then headed to Ft. Dix New Jersey, her first duty assignment.

Then, in September 1969, Lou received orders to go to Vietnam, arriving there on November 1. During her year at the 91st Evac Hospital, she cared for GIs, South Vietnamese soldiers and civilians, even Viet Cong and NVA soldiers. From malaria and hepatitis to double amputees, massive head traumas, and deadly bullet wounds, Lou Eisenbrandt saw it all.

Since 1970, she had made 4 return trips to Vietnam, the most recent one being in September 2014, when she joined 11 other vets making their first return trip to the country.

She is Chairman Emeritus of the board of Turning Point in Leawood, KS. Her other interests are travel, photography, golf, gardening, and finding a cure for Parkinson’s Disease, which she battles due to exposure to Agent Orange while in Vietnam.

My thoughts …

First, I found the book to be a quick, compelling, and enjoyable read. I liked the author’s style and the way she kept it light and managed to find humor is some pretty tough situations. I smiled and even chuckled at some of the memories she shared and learned some interesting little tidbits. For example, in reading about the Vietnam War over the years, I had never come across the acronym “LRB” before! Picturing the grinning South Vietnamese fishermen in their little round boats being towed like water skiers made me smile.

Several reviewers seemed disappointed and gave this book poor reviews. However, I think they missed the boat. It seemed to me that they wanted bloody, exacting details of assisting in operations on severely wounded GI’s or cowering fearfully in a bunker during a rocket attack. But this book was not about that. They should go back and read the subtitle. This book was about Lou Eisenbrandt and her memories and healing process. And I think she shared that pretty well.

And, so did the Military Writers Society of America, which gave it a Silver Medal Award.

That being said, I do wish the author had included a bit more detail here and there. I would have liked the book to be a little longer; it left me wanting more.

To those willing to look, I think this book presents a clear window into the author’s experiences as a nurse during the Vietnamese conflict. And, sadly, it is a story that is seldom told. This is a good read. I give it 4 out of 5 Stars.

To the combat veteran, nurses like Lou Eisenbrandt will always be seen as angels of mercy. So personally, I wish to say to Lou, thank you for your service.

Vietnam Veterans Day

March 29th

I have counted several Vietnam Veterans among my closest friends. Sadly, several are no longer with us. Please remember our Vietnam Veterans today as you go about living your daily lives.

They sent me

and my friends

and my generation

To Vietnam to die

and some of us did.

The rest of us have been dying

in bits and pieces

since the first day they sent us

home.

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