Tuesday, November 11, 2014


I have been blogging on my website since my ISP can't get their crap together and transfer my domain.

Also, due to security concerns I will no longer be blogging about my non professional life as no one needs to know any of that to like my books.

Friday, September 19, 2014

When should you evacuate?

I am going to preface this blog post with a warning, the following content is my own opinion. You must ultimately decide for yourself if evacuation is a good idea or not.

I have been evacuated once in my life. It happened in 2011 during a huge wildfire. At that time I lived up in the Huachuca Mountains just south of Fort Huachuca. We were about four miles north of the Mexican border. My wife and baby daughter were living in Phoenix and I was staying in a small studio rental, a cabin really, while I worked on post. Most weekends I went home to see them, but this weekend I didn't. We had a field training exercise and I had to work the Saturday. That Sunday, June 12th 2011, I was using my rare free day to clean my little house.

I had only been back from Iraq about 23 months so at first I didn't notice the sounds of helicopters. I eventually noticed and went outside to check. The border patrol are the only entitiy in the area with a chopper and are strangley receptive of help. I have actually directed th chopper to illegals using hand gestures before.

What I saw was something straight out of my writing. Words cannot accurately describe what I saw. There is an 8000ft nicely rounded peak due south of the cabin about 1 mile. The entire backside of the mountain must have been engulfed to produce the awesomely gigantic column of smoke. It reached nearly 30,000 feet high. I stood there for a few seconds in awe as I watched a tiny little helicopter try to dump water on this beast of a fire. I dropped my dusting rag on the floor and started loading valuables into my car. In a split second I decided to evacuate.

Why? Because I have common sense. I knew there was no way the government was going to be able to respond in time. The fire had a mile to travel before it got to my house. Yes, I have a hose and I used it. I didn't receive the official evacuation order for 24 more hours. I turned my hose on and heavily watered the trees in my yard. It was the only thing that saved my little house and the land lady's house next door.

I evaluated my situation using logic and the fact that burning alive would suck.

Thankfully, a buddy of mine lived on post and let me have a room in his house for 19 days. That's how long it took for the government to contain the fire. It burned nearly 50% of the mountain range.

During a natural disaster, I am most likely to evacuate. Most natural disasters give you plenty of time to pack your electronics and photo albums and GTFO of dodge. I have survived tornadoes, micro-bursts, and a forest fire.

The decision is up to you, Reader.

I understand why people stayed during Katrina. I wouldn't have. I have a wife and small child. Their safety is paramount. The trick is, to evacuate EARLY, not during the crush when 3.5 million people are trying to drive out of town on the only road out.

Remember, your stuff isn't worth your life.

Extended power failure = stay, unless its summer/winter and you have family members sensitive to the heat/cold.
Rioting = If its headed your way, GTFO!
Fire = GTFO
Flood = unless you live in a boat, GTFO!

Once you have evacuated the next thing to consider is where you are going. Based on experiences in Katrina and my own town, I would stay away from Govt or Redcross shelters. Stay away from any shelter that does not allow you to leave once you are there or tries to separate you from your children. Do not stay at a shelter that makes you relinquish your means of self defense. Do not stay at a shelter that requires you to turn over all food or clothes. You are in the business of surviving, not sharing. Its a harsh reality.

Packing list for evacuation:

Two five gallon fuel cans: Traffic may be slow, increasing fuel consumption and reducing range.
Food: several days worth of food, easily prepared, for each member of your family. Took Two cases of MREs. I have several cases of water on hand to toss in the trunk.
Clothes: Several changes of clothes and shoes.
Vital Documents: Birth certs, Soc Cards, ID for every member. Mortgage and insurance papers. Photo albums.
Weapons: Take all guns with you. Leave nothing for looters. My house was evacuated while I was at work. My neighbor was a lefty granola hippy, but he grabbed my dog and my guns. I asked him why, he said I know you are a soldier. A soldier isn't a soldier without a gun.
Camping equipment: Take it all, stoves, tents, sleeping bags, lanterns. You may not reach a shelter or your alpha site before night falls. You could trade items for food or fuel, or loan them out to keep children warm.
Communications: In an exciting situation, the cell phone towers may become overwhelmed. That means you won't have internet or phone service. I have a handheld ham radio for this reason. I can listen to police and get updates from a variety of sources. I can even call for help if I need to.
Recreation: Bring cards, books, toys, crayons for the kid. Evacuation can be boring.

Mindset is key to survival. Its a sad thing to admit but people will prey on you during an evacuation. They will want what you have. Security is your primary concern. Weapons ready at all times. Vehicle packed and ready to roll at all times. Several shelter sites in my town were evacuated due to the fire approaching the shelter's location. The sheriff's department caught many looters, some pulling into the driveway of a house as soon as the people left. Vehicles were broken into at shelters, and there were several attempted sexual assaults at the shelters.

I hope this helps.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Authors abusing readers! MUST READ!

A few days ago I became aware of a series of posts made by a successful author in which she bashes her readers.

Please read the following links and learn from her mistake.


This behavior is inexcusable. In response to her name calling and disparagement, I offered my first two books for free to anyone that emailed me. I have emailed out 70 something sets so far. The hundreds of supportive comments and emails made up for the few that called me sleazy and opportunistic. I just pointed out to her readers that I appreciate them and will treat them well. I did not call her names or attack her in anyway.

She has deleted the original posts but has stated that she stands by what she said and the only reason she removed the posts was because her publisher made her. The original posts were shared over 600 times and had thousands of comments. She had a cadre of diehard supporters trying to say she did nothing wrong by being rude. The majority of responses were extremely negative and some were down right nasty.

At the end of this post are links to two of her Publishers/Publicity Managers.

If you feel so inclined, contact them, but please don't make her mistake. Be mature, state how you feel about what she did, and remind them that as a consumer, you vote with your wallet!

I gave an interview on my comment and the furor it caused.

Sarah Reidy | Senior Publicity Manager| Simon & Schuster
1230 Avenue of the Americas | New York, NY 10020 | T. 212-698-7008
sarah.reidy@simonandschuster.com | @sarah_reidy

Hector DeJean
Minotaur Publicity Manager
St. Martin's Press
175 5th Avenue, 15th Floor
New York, NY   10010

Friday, August 22, 2014

Food storage and rotation.

   I'll address an important topic in this post.

   Food storage and rotation is an important part of any preppers plan. I recently went through my stock and got a few surprises. I find that rice is hard to store. It is cheap, but if your family is like mine, we don't eat it fast enough. My rice had bugs! That doesn't mean you can't eat it, it’s just gross. Will your family eat buggy rice under normal circumstances? Probably not.

   I decided after losing 20 plus pounds of rice, that we don't need that much. I only stockpile what we eat. That is also part of my rotation program. We eat our preps! Novel, I know. Instead of buying 4 cans of soup, I buy ten. When we use it, I buy ten more. I put the new stock in the back of the pantry and move the old stock forward. I also write codes on the top of my cans so I can tell what they are without taking the entire cabinet apart. Writing the date on the bottom is something I commonly do as well.

   As I said before, I only stockpile what we normally eat. We have been receiving assistance from churches and food banks. Its food, but usually it’s the stuff no one ate and they donated it to get rid of it. Lima beans are good, just not 20 cans of Lima beans.

   If you notice no one is eating certain foods, stop stockpiling them and switch that money over to things they do eat. You don't need to run out to the store and buy $400 worth of non perishable food. Just buy twice as much every grocery trip till you feel you have what you need.

   Having enough preps is a personal consideration. What are you prepping for? I try to store up enough food to last for a month. I use the following formula. 3 cans of food per person, per day, plus one can of meat (Tuna, chicken, etc) per person per day. That's 120 cans of food for three people to last a month. You won't be starving, but you won't be full either.

   Make sure you keep nutrition in mind. Vary the foods you store. No one wants to eat nothing but Vienna sausages for a month. Trust me. I also store pasta and sauce. Pasta sauce is fairly cheap and pasta is the same. There is plenty of variety out there.

   Another thing to consider is spices and flavors. I stockpiled gravy packets, onion soup packets, spices, etc. It helps add flavor and variety to your diet. Nothing is worse than eating the same stuff every day. Having the ability to customize food flavors will do a lot for your moral in a less than ideal situation.

   Lastly, I store about 2 pounds of hard candy. It gives you a bit of energy, and if you have kids, it can make a bad situation better in seconds.

   I hope this helped.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Sad Day

So many bad things have happened recently. But I'm going to focus on the good things. Thank you Miranda Moheit for two weeks of work. You tested the limits of my endurance and I passed. The money was sorely needed. The car now has a new battery terminal. Some guy from Ricks Fixit helped fix the car with some tools we lacked. I found a new mechanic. The lady with the county has found a way to help us stay in the Rv. Apparently you cannot live in an Rv unless you are in an Rv park. Zoning issue. But we have a solution. Now my wife is being harassed on Facebook by a man that assaulted her. My entire family knows now. My wife's family now knows. We tried to keep it secret because I cannot control these people at all. I'm the most sane one, and for all our flaws... You do not hurt a family member and get away.

Count your blessings not how many times Satan kicked you in the teeth today.
Book progress:

I'm eagerly awaiting the end of my kdp select commitment on Aug 14. I have my Nook account set up and ready to go. There are minuscule format differences but nothing major.

The outlines for books 4, 5, 6 are in progress. Book four outline is about done. Normally I don't do outlines but I want these last three books to be very tight with no loose ends.

I have an event this Saturday with Jody Denton in Bisbee at the VFW Car show. I hope to sell some books.

I am also eagerly awaiting to hear back from a potential publisher.

Now that I no longer have a job I can work on my books.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Book 3: By Lantern's Light COVER REVEAL!!!!


I shot some photos with the model Katherine Ray last weekend trying for a good cover for book 3. I was getting frustrated. It was late. Finally we started to improvise a little bit and got the shot you see on the cover. It was one of the last we took after two hours of trying to get things just right. I have this vision in my head and I could not get it to match up with what I was capturing in my camera.

It is very hard to shoot with lantern light. I used my Pentax ist-DL that is nearly 8 years old, with a vintage Pentax SMC lense from the 1970s that I found at goodwill for $14. We finally got the perfect image.

The next worse thing was trying to get the eye glow right. Holy crap! I don't know how to use photoshop well. I look up tutorials and mess with stuff till it looks cool. The eyes took hours.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Book Pricing. Shit Job, Shit Pay.

   I have been struggling with what to price book 3. I recently raised the price on book 2. Oddly enough, it started selling better. Go figure. I want to make money. I have a family to feed. I don't want to price it too high for the market. I am still an unproven Author in the eyes of the consumer. I don't feel I can command a $2.99 price tag.
   My plan is to price book 3 at $1.99 just like book 2. I'll offer promotions for book 1 for free.

Book 1: The Girl With No Name will always be $.99. I wish I could make it Perma Free.
Book 2: Aluminum Butterflies will probably stay at $1.99. I will never offer it for free. It's not logical. No one is going to read the second installment of a series without reading the first, even if its free.
Book 3: By Lantern's Light will likely be priced at $1.99. It won't be free either. Same reasons.

I have several Ideas kicking around in my head for other books. I want to try and finish my Sci-Fi work. I don't think I will do a series, just a novella.

Another Idea is a companion book about how to survive in the Apocalypse, based heavily on the series using examples and in depth explanations or something.

However, I am having to take a shit job for shit pay. I don't know how much time I will have to devote to writing and promoting, especially when I make less than $.35 a day.

Monday, June 23, 2014

This is war!

The three of you that actually read this blog and pay attention to my website and promotion efforts may have noticed a slight increase in my promotions. That's because I am spending even more time promoting my ass off. I an constantly making new images to spam face book and twitter with.

The only way to get noticed, is to get noticed.

I am also planning to man a booth at the local Tractor Supply Market.

A sweet lady has given me a table. I am going to spend a small amount of cash that we cannot afford and have some 4x6 prints made up to autograph and hand out.

I am going to try to have the model that portrays the character of the Girl there for signing as well.

This is war. We have lost unemployment. It ran out. I have started selling things I love to feed my kid, whom I love more.

We need money. We need it now.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Lets talk about water during a natural or manmade disaster.

Lets talk about water during a natural or manmade disaster. 05/17/2014 0 Comments Lets look at a premise from Book 1, when our Girl finds some water in the tanks for the carwash at a truck stop. In the book its nearly 20 years since things went to crap. In reality, a disaster won't be such a long term event. On the average, a human needs about one gallon of water a day to survive. You lose water from sweating, peeing, and breathing. In the average American home, there is at least 50 gallons of potable water available if the water turns off for some reason. Where is all that water, you ask? In the water heater and the toilets! The average water heater is 40 gallons. Thats enough drinking water to last four people ten days. If you encounter this situation you must save this water for drinking. Do not wash yourself, clothes, pets, etc. I have gone weeks without showering before, its not going to kill you. Not having water to drink will. Most water heaters have a drain valve with a garden hose connection. That's how you get it out. Drain it into clean containers that you can seal. Do not reuse chemical containers! Now, toilet water. Your toilet tank holds about 8 gallons of water. The average American home has two toilets. That will give you 16 gallons of extra water, that's four more days of life for four people. You need to remove this water from the tank ASAP as most tanks leak. Store in clean containers. Its clean, hasn't touched poop or pee. You don't poop or pee in the tank, right? So, in total, you may have 56 gallons of water stored in your house for a disaster. Thats almost two months of life for one person, a month for two people, or fourteen days for four people. If you have an EVENT that lasts more than 14 days, you are probably screwed anyway. Imagine though, in those 14 days, it is highly likely the relief services are dropping bottled water and canned food to keep you alive. I am just posting this info to buy you a few days of life, in case you need it. Storing Water? How much should I store? What do I do if I am facing a long term event? We store five to eight cases of bottled water at our RV. We also have a 40 gallon water tank and a six gallon water heater. We just don't have room for more. If you have a garage, you could store alot more. I have seen people make bed frames out of cases of water. Stack them three deep then toss a sheet over it and plop your mattress on it. I made it my mission to learn where all the wells are within a mile of my residence. All are run by electric submerged pumps so it will take some work to get to the water, thats why I have the 14 day supply. I would have to remove the pump or figure out how to power it to pump the water. Most well pumps are 220v. My generator only produces 110v. If you can get the pump out of the well shaft you can drop a weighted section of PVC pipe and haul the water up that way. It will be hard work, but its better than dying. We also live only a few miles from the San Pedro River, which in other states wouldn't qualify to be a creek. Its about two feet wide and a few inches deep, but its water. Filter it with coffee filters or a homemade sand filter and boil it to be sure its safe. Hope this helps. Do not drink swimming pool water! Use it for cleaning, flushing, clothes washing, bathing etc. I don't care if your dog drinks it, it will kill you.