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 feel as if you are one of the action-thriller characters …”
Authors love 5-Star reviews, and I am no exception. Montagnard recently received a very nice 5-star review from a lady named Vicki Goforth. Thank you, Vickie, for taking the time to leave a thoughtful review. I am so glad you enjoyed the book!
Timely Information With Explosive Action
I also received a very thoughtful 4-star review from another author named Schuyler T Wallace. While all reviews matter, getting a 4 or 5-star review from a fellow author means a great deal to me. It is like being accepted or validated by your professional peers.
Here are a few of Schuyler’s comments that stuck out to me.
I really liked this book. D.C. Gilbert is a talented writer with a lot to say, and he says it well.
It’s not a new plot but done in Gilbert’s refreshing manner that’s heavy on local detail, essential to the story.
The author uses appropriate dialogue that is timely and closely mirrors the life and times he is writing about.
Schuyler T Wallace, Author of Tin Lizard Tales
Also from this author …
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A gripping alternative history by Lee and Vista Boyland
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.
National POW/MIA Recognition Day was established in 1979 by a proclamation signed by President Jimmy Carter. Since then, each subsequent president has continued the tradition, commemorating the third Friday in September as National POW/MIA Recognition Day.
A national ceremony is held on every National POW/MIA Recognition Day at the Pentagon featuring members of each branch of military service and the participation of high-ranking officials.
In addition to the national ceremony, many observances of National POW/MIA Recognition Day can be found across the country on military installations, ships at sea, state capitols, schools, veterans’ facilities, homes, and private businesses.
No matter where they are held, these National POW/MIA Recognition Day ceremonies share the common purpose of honoring those held captive and returned, and those who remain missing.
According to the Department of Defense, approximately 83,114 Americans are still missing today.
In past years, I have seen Missing Man Honors tables set up in restaurants I have visited on this day. It never fails to bring a lump to my throat.
Missing Man Honors
Let me take a moment to explain the significance of the Missing Man Honors to those who may not understand. This is how the table is typically set at military and veteran clubs, and private businesses and homes.
The tables I have seen are typically set for one, with the single empty chair representing all missing American servicemembers. It will sometimes be done with a setting for six, with each chair representing the missing Americans from each of the services, including the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, and civilian.
There is great symbolism in how the table is set.
The table is round to symbolize our everlasting concern.
The table cloth is white and represents the purity of motive in answering the call to serve.
A single red rose is placed on the table to remind us of the lives of these Americans and their friends and loved ones who keep the faith.
The yellow ribbon represents our continued uncertainty, hope for their return, and determination to account for them.
A slice of lemon reminds us of their bitter fate, captured or missing in a foreign land.
A pinch of salt symbolizes the tears of the missing and their families.
The lighted candle reflects our hope for their return.
The Bible represents the strength gained through faith to sustain us and those lost from our country, founded as one nation under God.
The glass is inverted, symbolizing their inability to share a toast.
The chair is empty … because these great Americans are missing.
Traditions such as these honor those who fought and sacrificed so Americans today can live in Freedom.
Freedom is such a precious gift, a gift paid for by blood during the American Revolution, the Civil War, World War I, World War II, and other conflicts.
Politics is for politicians. The American fighting men and women put the politics aside and just do their job. All Americans should remember the brave men and women who answered our nation’s call and served in defense of freedom, and it is especially important to remember those who have not yet come home.
One friend recently asked, “Are your books just stories?” She went on to comment that I think you put your finger on a difference when recently you mentioned that redemption would be an ongoing theme in your new book.
She went on to say that my stories are brutal and that she squirmed through both of them … and that she usually quits reading a book when she’s “not having fun” with it. But she found in this last one, in the midst of all of Montagnard’s mayhem, a redemptive thread that wound through the story. This friend did like the way I handled that thread.
My short answer is … no, they are not just stories.
But the complete answer is not that simple. I will attempt to explain by way of an example.
I enlisted in the U.S. Army in July of 1979. The Vietnam War ended in April of 1975. So I missed it by several years, and I count that as a good thing. But I was old enough to later have several really close friends who were Vietnam veterans. And several of my Drill Instructors in Basic and AIT were Vietnam vets. I also served with a good number of Vietnam veterans during my four years of service. And frankly, I was aghast at how these veterans were treated when they came home from doing what their country sent them to do. These veterans were not “for” or “against” the war in Vietnam. A distinction like that only works for civilians and politicians. These soldiers, airmen, marines, and sailors were just doing their job. I quickly became fascinated with the Vietnam War.
A war the soldiers won, and the politicians lost!
As I mention in the prologue to Montagnard, the truth is that the U.S. military defeated the North Vietnamese Army. The Tet Offensive was their last gasp. Later interviews with high ranking NVA officers revealed that they were stunned when the United States pulled out. The U.S. had won the war, but somehow the country didn’t know it. The American media had been feeding the American people a very different story, and far too many bought into it. Public support had dwindled. The American military won the war, but the media and politicians gave the victory away.
Sounds eerily familiar to me …
The Fake News is nothing new
Now there’s a controversial statement for you. But it is a fact. The Vietnam War is the first war where “journalists” were embedded with the troops. Some of them did a great job and honestly reported the facts. But, there were some with an agenda.
We all remember the village of My Lai and Lt. William Calley. The My Lai Massacre was pounded into our heads by the media. And I am certainly not defending that action. However, U.S. soldiers were not prepared for the kind of war we fought in Vietnam, and neither were the American people. This was a war where the smiling young lady selling you an RC and a Moon Pie that day would be trying to slit your throat while you slept that night.
The fact is that mini “My Lai massacres” occurred nearly every day in Vietnam, and atrocities were, sadly, committed by both sides. However, the vast majority of U.S. military personnel served honorably and professionally in a war that they were totally unprepared for and was unlike any war we had ever fought before.
The North Vietnamese Army and their allies, the Viet Cong, subjected the South Vietnamese and Montagnard peoples, and any U.S. service member they got their hands on, to savage brutality that makes the My Lai Massacre pale in comparison. But you would never know that from listening to the news media. I mean, after all, we had Jane Fonda over there being photographed with an NVA anti-aircraft battery and giving a secret message pressed into her hand by an American POW at the Hanoi Hilton to the prison’s commandant!
So what does that have to do with my books?
As I mentioned before, I had several good friends who were Vietnam veterans. I don’t know if it was my personality, my role as a martial arts instructor, or what, but people have always opened up to me. I guess I am just a good listener. Over the years, I learned about some of the things my friends experienced in Vietnam and how they felt about it afterward. And I saw, first hand, how much the betrayal by their own country when they returned home, hurt them.
So, when I read or hear a comment about Serpents Underfoot, by a Vietnam veteran saying something like, “It was so nice to read something that actually portrayed the brutally of the Viet Cong for a change, instead of simply hating on U.S. soldiers,” I feel really good about that.
I don’t feel like I embellish the violence or that it is gratuitous. But, on the other hand, I do not shy away from presenting violence in its “naked” state. I guess you could say I am not very politically correct. If so, I wear that proudly.
Real stories from real people …
One Vietnam veteran in particular, became a really close friend and fellow martial artist. He died a few years ago, succumbing to health issues stemming from several tours in Vietnam. I still stay in contact with his daughter and her family.
Scenes in both Serpents Underfoot and Montagnard are based on stories he told me of his time in Vietnam, where he served as a medic on Long Range Reconnaissance Patrols (LRRP) along the borders with Laos and Cambodia. Another of his stories will be a basis for part of the next installment in the JD Cordell Action Series I am calling Reciprocity.
While I am sure the stories have truth at their core, I do allow for a little literary license on his part to make the stories more entertaining for the telling.
But this is just a piece of my story’s puzzles …
I will share more in a couple of upcoming posts. In the meantime, if you love reading a great action-adventure story, check out Serpents Underfoot, or its award-winning sequel, Montagnard.
In celebration of Labor Day, the Kindle version of Montagnard will be on sale for only .99, so if you are interested in reading it, it would be a great time to buy it! And, should you enjoy the book, please take a moment to leave an honest review on Amazon.
However, I can’t help it. My editor suggested I send Montagnard to Literary Titan, which while not yet as big as Kirkus, is fast becoming a leader in literary reviews and awards. So … I did.
And 45 days later, this was the result …
Here are a few highlights:
Montagnard has all the elements I look for in a good action-adventure story.
… This is where the novel really shines. JD Cordell is electrifying … I really enjoyed the depth of JD’s character.
The action in this novel is relentless and well detailed.
If you would like to read the entire review, you can click here!
And I promise, my next post will not be a Montagnard promotion!
I hope you will take some time to check out some of my other “non-promotional” blog posts by clicking here! But, if you do enjoy reading a great action-adventure story, please consider checking out my new novel, Montagnard, on Amazon.com! It’s getting really great reviews.