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?
According to Ret. U.S.M.C. MSgt. Arcenio J Advincula, the Flesheater is the ultimate combat fighting knife, a masterful blend of design and craftsmanship that is a cut above, straight, and to the point. Jim Hammond, a world-class custom knifemaker, worked with AJ Advincula to develop this unique bladed weapon.
I first encountered the Flesheater after attending an Isshin-ryu Karate Seminar given by Sensei Advincula in Raleigh, NC, a few years ago. I have attended several seminars given by Sensei Advincula over the years, and like Sensei Sherman Harrill, he is the real deal.
At the seminar, I met Richard Rosenthal. an Isshin-ryu Karate practitioner like myself, who also trained in Sensei Advincula’s Mano Y Lago Escrima. I began attending Sensei Rosenthal’s escrima classes and thoroughly enjoyed its practicality and compatibility with Isshin-ryu Karate.
The origins of the Flesheater
The Flesheater originated when Master Chief Petty Officer Don Griffiths, who spearheaded the design development research for the SEALTAC™ Series with USN Special Warfare (SEAL) personnel in 1981, asked his martial arts instructor, “What would you look for in a fighting knife, not a combat knife, but a pure fighting knife?”
During a later visit to the shop where the first two prototypes were being developed, Don accidentally experiencing the edge of the first prototype. Griffiths proclaimed, “That knife’s a real flesh-eater!” The name stuck.
The Flesheater design is based primarily upon Largo-Mano Escrima and Isshin-Ryu Karate. Advincula is a first-generation student of the founder of Isshin-Ryu Karate, Tatsuo Shimabuku. He began studying escrima and knife fighting in 1946 at age 8 with two Filipino Scouts and close combat instructors, Pete Rado and Tony Navarro.
The Flesheater’s role in Montagnard.
In Montagnard, Carlos Vivas, a US Navy SEAL and teammate of the main character, JD Cordell, is a skilled practitioner of escrima. In the fictional story, Vivas’ father served with AJ Advincula in the US Marines as a drill instructor and trained in Mano Y Lago Escrima. Carlos, who left Puerto Rico to enlist in the US Navy, carries on the tradition.
As the friendship between Carlos and JD grows, Carlos presents JD with a Jim Hammond-made Flesheater at JD’s retirement party. The knife appears throughout the story and plays a key role in the climatic ending.
For more information about the Flesheater’s design, characteristics, and versatility, click the link or image above to visit Jim Hammond’s website.
My Flesheater – a reliable and valuable companion!
I have to admit, I did have a new custom leather sheath made. I ordered my Flesheater from Columbia River Knife and Tool and found the thermoplastic sheath they included quite impractical for my purposes.
Also, CRKT no longer carries these knives. You have to order them directly from Jim Hammond now. I suspect it is because there are designed specifically for combat and are probably not something the typical outdoor person might carry. It is also not very practical for cleaning your fingernails.
Be sure to check out my books by clicking here! They do get great reviews!
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing
That is the short version attributed to Edmund Burke. It is actually derived from a longer work titled Thoughts on the Cause of the Present Discontents (1770).
Defining Good and Evil …
As old fashioned as it might seem, I do believe in good and evil. And I strongly agree with Edmund Burke that for evil to triumph, all that is needed is for good men to sit by and do nothing.
And I certainly understand that the world we live in is not always so black and white. No, I am not racist; I am merely using an analogy that far predates the politically charged various versions of racism we must try to sort through today.
There is a great deal of gray in the world. However, social order and civilization are dependent on defining what lawful and unlawful behavior is. And, some actions are almost unanimously deemed as reprehensible (or evil). These, even in today’s upside-down world, would typically include stealing, murder, rape, slavery, human trafficking, genocide, etc.
Complete pacifism only leads to one of two possible places …
What are those two places? Simply stated, they are slavery or extinction.
You might argue that it is a bit extreme. I argue it is not. History is chock-full of examples supporting this concept, going back thousands of years. And, those who fail to study history are far too often doomed to repeat it.
I have thirty-five plus years of martial arts training. I served in the U.S. military and graduated from the best private bodyguard training school in the United States. I understand what really evil people can do, and refusing to stand up to them typically does not stop them.
I am reminded of a dinner party I was at many years ago. One of the guests was a local radio station disc jockey, and I soon discovered, an avowed pacifist. He asked me how I could justify owning guns and also teaching people how to beat up other people. I simply answered that I do not teach people how to hurt other people. I teach people how to stop people from hurting them or people they care about.
He scoffed at that. So I gave him a scenario (we had just recently had our first home invasion in Anderson County in the news, where an elderly couple was tied to chairs, brutally beaten, and robbed). I asked him if he were home at night with his wife and three young children, and violent people invaded his home with the intent to harm his family, would he just step out of the way because he “did not believe in violence,” or would he try to protect his family?
He thought about that for a minute, then answered that he would have to try to protect them. I then told him that the only real difference between him and me was that I would have much a better chance of succeeding. His final comment was something like, “Wow, you’ve cut me to the quick on that. I have to think about that.”
Sometimes, good people must do bad things to stop evil people!
Strictly speaking, there are no such things as good and bad impulses. Think…of a piano. It has not got two kinds of notes on it, the ‘right’ notes and the ‘wrong’ ones. Every single note is right at one time and wrong at another. The Moral Law is not any one instinct or set of instincts: it is something which makes a kind of tune (the tune we call goodness or right conduct) by directing the instincts.
C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
It is in this quote that we can see the defense for my comment above. The difference for me is in the character of the person and the reason for the act. Yes, good people can sometimes be called on to do bad things to protect those they care about. But they do it out of necessity, not for fun, personal gain, or on a whim. And therefore, they are willing to stand before God and be judged for their deeds.
This is the reference JD makes near the end of Montagnard. It is also how, in real life, a Navy SEAL like Chris Kyle or Rob O’Neil, or any soldier, sailor, airmen, or marine, would be able to justify to themselves what they do and sleep at night.
Evil does exist in this world. Often, it cannot be reasoned with, appeased, or avoided. Sometimes, it must be faced down. There have been a few instances in my life where I made the choice to stand against evil. I do not regret those decisions and I do not believe God will hold them against me when my time comes.
My stories, at their core, are about facing down that evil.
The third installment in the JD Cordell Action Series I am calling Reciprocity, will delve into the dark world of human trafficking, which I think any sound-minded individual would consider an evil blight on humanity.
If you enjoyed this little philosophical meandering, please take a few minutes and check out some of my other blog posts by clickinghere!
And, if you like reading an award-winning action & adventure thriller, check out my award-winning novel, Montagnard.
Being locked down over Labor Day weekend is no fun!
So, you need something good to read, something that will grab your attention and keep it!
Something that is so good, that you will not want to put it down!
Bravery, valor, honor, comradeship, revenge, and love with realistic combat and martial arts scenes kept this reader enthralled and turning the pages
Lee Boyland, Award Winning Author
A tightly focused and exciting second installment of a thriller series.
Gilbert has outdone himself in Montagnard. With its lightning pace, gripping storyline, and well-constructed action scenes … an absolute page-turner. Action thriller lovers will hate to miss this one.
The Prairies Book Review
D.C. Gilbert has crafted a taught military action novel that explores humanity at it’s most vengeful. This is a thrilling novel … elevated by intriguing characters … an exotic location … danger around any corner. A great continuation of the JD Cordell Action Series
You want something that will cost you under $1.00 …
And here it is … Montagnard!
While this is Book 2 in the JD Cordell Action Series, it stands very well on its own as a great read.
After midnight on September 4th, Montagnard will be only .99 for 7 straight days … ending at midnight on September 11th.
Click the button above after midnight on September 4th or before midnight on September 11th, to get your Kindle copy of Montagnard at this fantastic price.
And you have done, please take a moment to let other know what you thought by leaving a review on Amazon.com. Thank you!
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.
While it is way too early to crack open a bottle of champagne, I am indeed discussing the possibility of a movie based on the book Montagnard with a film production company.
I have been talking to the CFO of an independent film company I was introduced to by a mutual friend. He was receptive, so I sent him a synopsis of Montagnard. He looked it over and pitched it to the CEO. Now they are both interested in the book and researching the possibility. How about that?
These are exploratory discussions on the feasibility of a movie at this point, and there are obstacles to overcome. There could be a thousand reasons why the deal falls apart. To make it this far is motivational by itself! I am excited.
A mentor advised me to proceed thoughtfully but with zero expectations. I think that is a great plan. And precisely what I intend to do.
By the way …
I have experimented with another book trailer, this one for Montagnard. Take a look and let me know what you think. I am trying to decide if I like the idea of these book trailers or not.
If you got a kick out of this post, please take a few minutes and check out some of my other blog posts by clicking here!
And, if you love reading a great, award-winning, action-adventure thriller, check out Montagnard! Just click the button below!
A tightly focused and exciting second installment of a thriller series
I am seriously on a roll here, and it almost has me worried … LOL … when is the Sword of Damocles going to fall?
But, Montagnard just received a fantastic review from Kirkus Reviews, and I am feeling quite blessed. Both Serpents Underfoot and Montagnard have received fabulous reviews from Kirkus … the mother of all book reviews!
Kirkus does have a reputation for being brutally honest, and just to verify this for my self, I perused a few other reviews on their site and saw the evidence of that. I guess I must be doing something right.
Here is a snippet from the review:
Like the series’ first installment, Gilbert’s enjoyable sequel offers some rousing subplots …
But this novel concentrates on fewer characters, such as the returning players Curtis, Mai, and Ajax.
JD’s story also evolves as the well-established hero suffers more than one loss.
If you are interested, you can clickhere to read the entire review.
On a slightly different note …
I would like to “second” a message a fellow author … the author of Leora’s Letters, Joy Neal Kidney, posted on Instagram a short time ago. Reviews are crucial to authors trying to establish themselves and build a reader base. And, by the way, Leora’s Letters is a terrific read! You will want to check it out. I highly recommend it.
Twenty reviews will help get the ball rolling. Another milestone is the 50 to 70 review mark. And, even if you did not purchase a book from Amazon, you can still review it there as long as you have an Amazon account.
Here is Joy’s Instagram post … I don’t think she’ll mind if I share it here.
I would appreciate it as well!
And, if you do love a good action-adventure story, check out the novel, Montagnard, by award-winning author, D.C. Gilbert; and don’t forget to take a minute to leave an honest review!
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.