ASHUR Rigs – The Battlespace Evolved

A glimpse into Land & Sea’s ASHUR rigs. Enjoy!

Creative Juggernaut Blog

Oorah!

What did you just ask? ‘Is that a ‘Mech?’ Hell no soldier, it’s an ASHUR rig. It is the pinnacle of an evolution of power armor in the Land & Sea universe. A ‘Mech? Drop and give me twenty!

Land & Sea is set over two decades in the future. There has been a war with Russia, more on that later. Needless to say conflict breeds innovation. These power battle armor rigs are the new queens of the battlefield.

ASHUR stands for Augmented Soft/Hard Unconventional (Combat) Rigs. It also happens to be the name of the Assyrian God of War.

In Land & Sea we have a more scientific view of technology. Two decades is not likely to usher in tiny fusion reactors or weapons that don’t have their basis in reality. The technology is familiar in many respects, simply better.

This Lion Class rig in…

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Life in Cancelled-Land

A fan cooked this up and I love it! Pay your phone bills you commie bastard!

To start off; I’m doing just fine. Just saying that will drive my detractors into a tizzy-fit. 

I have no idea what they are complaining about. They won this battle. Apparently it wasn’t enough for the little huddle of loud leftists to simply celebrate. They continue to craft little narratives filled with lies and massive distortions of the truth to try and paint me as everything from a Nazi to an insurgent.  When that didn’t play well, they went after fans, friends, and supporters. Winning wasn’t good enough for this cancel mob, everyone had to agree with what they did and lavish praise upon them. They clearly want participation ribbons and a pizza party in their honor. Now that they had a victory, everyone had to agree that it was the right thing to do. Anyone that didn’t agree with them was an enemy and subject to their twisted online ire. These people always need a target or they have no meaning in life. They are ruining gaming as a hobby, forcing their outside politics on others. Stalin would be proud of them.

The lies they create are plentiful.  Some of the alleged posts I made, some I did not. I saw at least two that were complete piece of fiction.  Most of the others were ripped out of context and labelled with something offensive.  Example:  I wrote two pieces, a blog post and an article, on how corporate diversity and inclusiveness programs were ineffective and were corporate pandering. I stated, accurately, that they didn’t achieve proven goals of better quality.  Worse yet, they use training, one of the least effective means of change management, to try and drive change that was ill-defined at best. These posts were labeled as proof that I was “Transphobic.”  I never said anything bad at all about the LGBTQ+ community in the articles – but these online hacks labeled them as such. This is how far they will stretch reality to fit their little hate-filled story.

One person, in a brand-spanking new Facebook account, claimed that when I was on MWO I was uttering racial rants and slurs at him.  This was a lie of course.  One I don’t utter that kind of filth.  Second, I never play with a mike on.  Frankly, I’m not coordinated enough to fire a PPC, run, watch my tactical display, and turn on my mic and rant. Third, how would I know what his alleged race was on MWO to begin with?  Additionally I uninstalled MWO from my PC in March. This ‘fan’ friended me the day before he made the allegation, then claimed it was only because he didn’t recognize me as the racist he claims to have heard online. If someone threw out racial slurs at you, you’d think you’d remember their name. This was a troll, either spun up by the woke mob to contemptibly push a new line of hate, or this was some individual seeking his moment of fame. You could smell their desperation with these stunts.  

One cadre of hate claimed I had stolen from Catalyst. Of course this is a lie. I assume they don’t mean I took money, since I had no opportunity to do that. Perhaps they were referring to the fact we have power armored suits, ASHUR’s, in our upcoming game, Land & Sea?  Catalyst has long been aware of what Brent Evans and I have been working on. Hell, Randall Bills asked to be a playtester!  It was absurd to the point of being humorous, mostly at the stupidity of the accusation. 

One troll tried to get me fired from Creative Juggernaut. It was cute and pathetic both at the same time. To clarify I am one of the owners of Creative Juggernaut. I made the decision to not fire myself. Case closed.

A few erroneously claimed, “He’s doing this to promote his latest novel.” First off, I always have a book that just dropped or about to. I have 2-3 more books coming this year.  At any point in time I have a book out or about to come out.  Second, that book dropped in June.  If I was timing it to promote that book the story would have come out two weeks before to drive up presales. No one would ever subject themselves to the ridicule, lies, and venom I have experienced in the last few days, just to sell a handful of books. I appreciate the fact you think I’m a villain on par with Lex Luthor, but (sadly) I’m not.  For the record, Luthor never would have tolerated this kind of BS.

A few said I deliberately timed this to all come out just before Gen Con. It wasn’t deliberate, but merely a coincidence. I actually wanted the story to come out sooner. Several people claimed I didn’t go to Gen Con specifically because of my pre-planned revelations. I posted in my blog in January that I wouldn’t be going to Gen Con – months before things exploded. Apparently these people can’t use a calendar – or they don’t care. 

Then came the overt censorship on Facebook and other forums. I stayed off of the forums from the start, but the fans did not. On some of them, when someone posted support for me, those posts were quickly taken down. Negative posts about me were kept up. Why? Who was calling the shots? To be clear, I feel that censorship is never the solution to a problem. What has been done to me is a form of censorship and I’m against it in every form. I do want to thank the moderators for making my point for me though. Your hammer and sickle pins are in the mail, comrades!    

Some people tried to rewrite my Wikipedia page – numerous times, removing references to BattleTech and attempting to smear me there. Not satisfied with that, they began to put in reviews of my books on Amazon and other sites with nasty comments in them about me, calling me names. These were not verified purchases, so it is easy to see that these are just another form of harassment and attempts at intimidation.  It wasn’t enough to have me fired, they have decided to harass me further. Bear in mind, I have done nothing to these individuals other than react to them…yet.

Renegade HPG put up a poll on this topic. I take no stock in polls. I shook my head and laughed when someone purchased fake bot votes and dumped 3000 of them in, within a matter of a few minutes, to sway the poll in favor of CGL cutting ties with me. They did it twice in fact, when the original poll was taken down and a new one put up.  It makes you wonder, who would spend money to try and make that decision look like the right one?  Who benefits from twisting a poll to a certain result? Certainly not me, I’m cancelled. Who was willing to spend cash to alter the outcome?  I have theories, as I am sure you do a well. In the end, it doesn’t matter other than it is rightfully perceived as another insult to the fan community. 

I did laugh out loud when Catalyst announced, two days after the article ran in American Greatness, that they were re-releasing my novel, Fire at Will.  That came out of the blue.  I’m not sure of the message they were attempting to send to the fan community. If my work is offensive enough to end our relationship going forward, why put more of it out there?  Wouldn’t that simply provoke the cancel crowd?  If that book is somehow deemed acceptable, why not my Snord’s stories, or my Honor and Glory piece that was done and edited with artwork and ready to roll?  Why not publish my Leviathans novella you had me write? If you were confused by this release, you were not alone. The minefield of contradictions is deep and thick. To me, it seemed as if this was some sort of attempt to try and save face with the fans. I, as the author, had not been told it was coming out in advance. It made me and others wonder what the real driving factor was.

The latest humorous narrative the whiners are spreading is that my contributions to BattleTech are of little or no merit. My cancellation (their words by the way) is of no real loss. I have never claimed that my works are major or instrumental to the universe. I have never said I was the best or most popular BattleTech author. Frankly I’m a fan of Robert Charrette’s early work in the universe. I was told a year ago that Hour of the Wolf was the biggest selling book for Catalyst, ever. I would only say that Hour of the Wolf ended one era and kicked off another and leave it at that. My importance or level of contribution is a determination that only the real fans can make—not those that are attempting to downplay the damage they have wracked. 

This demonstrates the level and depth of their misdirection and despondency.

While much of this sounds negative, the reality is I have heard from many people who have enjoyed my work over the years. The outpouring of support from fans was fantastic. I have gotten 69 emails, one snail mail letter, and dozens of direct messages of support from the fans.  Many told stories of when they joined the BattleTech and how they loved the stories I had written.  They spoke of characters that they loved, or quoted one-liners that I had almost forgotten. There was a love of the universe there that was hard to deny. It is one I share. It was clear that people are fed up with these digital terrorists who have infiltrated their hobby and sought to twist it to fit their own desires. The people that wrote me want their hobby back…they want big stompy robot-PPC-infused fun without the drama. Many expressed frustration at what was done, how it wasn’t communicated to the fans, and why CGL was evening listening to the haters in the first place. Even people who dislike my politics were stunned at the heavy-handed approach from my former publisher. I have struggled to keep up with the messages and respond to them. If I didn’t respond to you, it wasn’t on purpose.

One bit of news; John Helfers did send me an email apology for his earlier email. That is all I’m going to say at this time on that subject.

Book publishers, major ones, have been reaching out to me as have a few Kickstarters to explore my interest. I’m open to these kind of dialogues and discussions. I look forward to writing more military sci-fi and alternate history. I have been reached out to by a number of people in gaming that have experienced the wrath of the cancel culture crowd as well. It is always good to know you are not alone. This issue is one that goes beyond BattleTech. This woke-culture/mob mentality is a problem in the gaming industry as a whole. These social justice warriors are a cancer in the hobby, one I fear will consume it from within.  

For anyone to say that this isn’t political isn’t looking at the reality of the situation. If I had been posting left-wing comments supporting extreme progressive views, I would still be writing BattleTech. I know that.  Who else was cut loose by Catalyst?  No one. This was a targeted action. I can prove it if I am forced. I have a collection of dozens of screenshots of social media posts by CGL authors and artists that demonstrate leftist views that many people might find offensive. I try not to throw other creative people under the bus, at least not the way some have already done with me.  If their behavior continues however, I will not be so charitable.

A few of CGL’s contractors have contacted me with support and with fear for their jobs because of their political leanings. That’s what these kinds of decisions do…they have a ripple effect on innocent people. Working on BattleTech is an honor, or at least it was. I gave them what encouragement I could to stick it out and savor your work being in print.  

I have long understood the risks and headaches of being public about this. I am doing well now, finally on top of email and messages. I’m ignoring the cancel crowd and recommend you do the same. For the time being, I will focus on the positives and snicker at my detractors acting like petulant children. Those that hate me have won a battle – but I have no intention of losing the war. It is one of the best lessons that gaming has taught me. If you are going to play, you need to know the victory conditions.

Non-Spoiler Review of Rick Partlow’s Contact Front (Drop Trooper Book 1)

It’s “Blow shit up o’clock” somewhere…

I love the military science fiction genre and in the last few years there have been some great entries and series that have launched.  One author I have been watching for a while is Rick Partlow who has a few proverbial irons in the fire.  So I finally carved out some time to read Contact Front, the first book in his Drop Trooper series. 

And now I’m hooked.

Partlow writes this book first person from the character of Cam Alvarez. Characters are everything and they have to have a good arc to hold my attention.  He is a street thug for the most part who is arrested and was given the chance to flip state’s evidence or join the Marines. He’s not a warm and cuddly character – like all good ones, he has flaws. Partlow expertly develops this kid into something fairly interesting and by the end of the book you are rooting for him.  That’s the mark of a great author. 

I like the universe the author has crafted. It isn’t about stunning tech…it has a grittiness to it that is appealing. When universe building it is tempting to get into every nut and bolt detail.  Partlow avoids that masterfully.  We don’t have to know how weapons work, they simply do. I like the beer and pretzel science approach in a series. While I want those details, I don’t need them to get into the action at this point.  Hopefully in other books he will give me a little more meat for those bones. 

This isn’t a Mecha book, it is, however, all about power armor.  I love good power armor stories and this one delivers.  Ultimately this isn’t about the tech or the firepower, it is about the character of Cam Alvarez.

I won’t ruin this review by revealing the plot, but suffice it to say, there are internal struggles within the Marines as well as a ruthless alien enemy.  The book seems to give a lot of good solid background around the universe that Partlow has crafted and I found myself wanting more. 

If you haven’t checked out the Drop Trooper series, I highly recommend you do.   

Moving Forward…

By now many of you know the story, or parts of it. Going forward, I will no longer being writing BattleTech for Catalyst Game Labs (CGL). This was not a mutual decision. A handful of people, led by Faith McCloskey, protested when my latest novel, No Substitute for Victory, was published. That backlash led to Fanatics (owner of the IP) telling Catalyst to ‘make this go away.’ 

I should have seen the handwriting on the wall. Throughout my ordeal with the person using this fake identity, Loren Coleman, the President of Catalyst, never called to ask how I was doing.  All he was focused on was where the investigation into Faith/J was at and what actions I was taking and when. In contrast, Defiance Press, one of my other publishers, called to make sure my wife and I were okay, seeing if there was anything they could do to help. Catalyst never once, after I made matters public, said that they were against people threatening their contract employees. They never gave me a single public word of support. 

My discussion regarding my termination with Catalyst’s President centered on him highlighting an ongoing ‘feud’ with the person claiming to be Faith. Catalyst’s rebuttal to my initial article in American Greatness on this matter said that this had nothing to do with my Faith. My response to this is to relay to you part of the transcript of my discussion with Catalyst’s President on this matter (yes, I transcribed my notes from the call) – and you can form your own opinion:

  • CGL  “The problem is really this feud you have with J**** (Faith).”
  • “I’m not feuding.”
  • CGL  “Well you are.  Every time you post something about him, it causes him to react.” 
  • “I have written two things in three months about what he did. I made it clear to you when we started this that I had been forced to be quiet [under advice of legal counsel] for months. I have every right to speak out about what he tried to do to me. Need I remind you that this person threatened the life of one of your contract employees?  I told you then that I would be fully leveraging this and you said you would do the same thing if you were in my shoes. He hasn’t stopped trying to smear me, and you expect me to do nothing?”
  • CGL  “I’m not saying that.  But it’s causing a problem.” 
  • “This isn’t about my articles [about him] at all or referencing him.  He reacted the moment that my last novel came out and I hadn’t even talked about him. You can’t expect me to be quiet.” 
  • CGL  “Well, it’s a problem.” 
  • “So you’re willing to throw a 36 year relationship with BattleTech out window?  One of your bestselling authors?”
  • CGL  “I knew this would be a difficult call.”  

With the release of Blue Dawn, I wrote articles for conservative websites such as American Thinker, PJ Media, and Townhall.com, American Greatness, and others. I made it clear to Catalyst that I would reference my online stalker in some of these articles as an example of woke extremism.  Catalyst’s President said, “I would do the same thing if I were you.” On my call with Catalyst over my release, this was being positioned as me being in some sort of ‘feud.’ At the risk of being blunt, everything I have done in regards to this person has been in reaction to their online attacks or threats. Faith and his minions have harassed reporters, bloggers, podcasters, YouTubers, and others in a campaign to smear me and intimidate them. Even when I posted nothing online, they spewed their venom and lies about me. This had nothing to do with BattleTech, it was an orchestrated effort by a handful of individuals with a radical leftist agenda to cancel me. 

Publishers can hire whomever they desire. I am more appalled that Catalyst has opted to side with a person who had threatened my life. Imagine how you would feel in the same circumstance. Picture someone harassing you online to the point where they contact your friends and make threats against your life – and your employer releasing you as a result of this. 

Catalyst employs a number of progressive/liberal writers and artists who post things on the internet that are far more offending than anything I ever did – but they are being retained. To me, this creates the appearance that it is my conservative views that are what Catalyst has issue with. I will let you form your own opinion. I notice that only one person’s name, mine, was mentioned in their rebuttal.    

Why speak up at all?  The President of Catalyst told me that he would inform the fans of this decision but never did that. Weekly, if not daily, I receive messages asking me what is coming out next; or when will the Snord’s story be released; or when will there be another Clan Wolverine story? What are you working on?  Where’s the stuff you said you’ve written?  I was forced to make this public to clear the air and put an end to those questions.

Catalyst reached out to me weeks after this decision and askdc me to write a blurb for an upcoming coffee table book about what BattleTech meant to me – after telling me I was being banned from writing future fiction. Why would I help them sell product after the treatment they were giving me?  Their response to my anguish over the request was that it was okay, they weren’t going to pay me for it! Money has never been the motivator for writing BattleTech. I love the universe and the game.   

Then a few weeks ago, I received this nasty note from my editor, a man who I had bailed out countless times before: 

Drivel? Shouldn’t you read it first?

Talk about judging a book by its cover! A Most Uncivil War had not been published at this point, yet Catalyst’s editor, John Helfers, chose to be insulting to me. Loren was copied on the email but did not offer any rebuke of John’s nastiness. His inaction made it clear that he supported this attempt to infuriate and insult me and my writing.

For years I answered fans questions about BattleTech lore, characters, battles, etc.  I posted material about the history of the franchise. I actively and openly engaged with the fan community.  I had gamers in my house to play BattleTech. Catalyst benefited from these actions. I gave free consulting on WWI aviation and naval action for their Leviathan’s game. From my perspective that loyalty was one-sided and misplaced.    

To be clear, I am not a victim. I refuse to use that title. I am a conservative that has had one publisher not publish my work because my views do not align with theirs. I chose to exercise my First Amendment rights. To me, this is censorship at the source. Their actions have had me join the ranks of others like Gina Carano, Tim Allen, and others, so I feel like I’m in good company.  They have a business to run and made a decision. What I, and the fans, think of that decision is irrelevant. The loss is to the many fans I have earned over the decades. I will walk away proud of my contributions to BattleTech.  

I have been overwhelmed with dozens of emails, posts, and DM’s of support. Thank you. This has been an emotional burden that I’ve been carrying for months and this weekend was cathartic and emotionally therapeutic. I ignored the nasty comments and outright lies by a handful of people, they didn’t merit giving the posters credibility by responding.  Haters are going to hate. I don’t have time in my life for such negative people.

I get it – we kind of grew up together. A lot of fans have written about how they were teenagers and loved reading my books. My books were a guilty and safe pleasure for many of you in your youth. I’m glad my efforts got you to enjoy the game and the universe. Others loved my contribution to sourcebooks – ComStar and Clan Wolf. One compared my current situation to that of Khan Sarah McEvedy of Clan Wolverine…which made me grin. One asked if I would be selling my BattleTech collection – which I now must consider. Most simply were upset and wanted to know they had my back. Everyone expressed appreciation for my work and I am deeply thankful for your kind words.

I will continue to write novels about great characters, telling fun and creative stories – just not BattleTech stories. This will not slow me down one bit as a writer.  I prefer creating in my own universe of Blue Dawn or writing true crime books, or my novels for Creative Juggernaut. I have three novels coming out of Kickstarters for them starting this fall. Two publishers reached out to me yesterday to write for their series – so you never know where I might show up. These publishers are able to separate where I stand on issues versus the stories I write. I have contracts in place right now for books with publishers who don’t care what politics I have. Their focus is the product I create. As long as I write good stories, they and their readers are happy.

This will likely be my last blog post on BattleTech. It would take a lot for me to come back to the franchise – so please don’t ask me. I’m 59 years old, so I want to spend my time working on projects where I don’t have to look over my shoulder or cringe at how a handful of internet trolls might react. I don’t believe in boycotts or online petitions. If you want to speak with your pocketbook, that is your decision. Direct your questions to @Topps or @Fanatics.  If you want to support me, do it in the time-tested way, buy my books from other publishers such as Defiance Press, Lyons Press, Skyhorse Publishing, Wild Blue Publishing, or Arcadia.   

The Slogans of Tyranny – the Title Headings in Blue Dawn and A Most Uncivil War

The universe of the Blue Dawn series is one where left wing extremists have toppled the American government and replaced it with their version of a progressive utopia.  Conservatives are rounded up in Social Quarantine Camps – for their own safety of course.  In the series, I have given the radical progressives everything they want – complete control. 

And my characters are going to take that control away from them – one novel at a time.

They have implemented a Disinformation Governance Board – in the guise of the Truth Reconciliation Committee – the TRC.  I feel a bit like Nostradamus with this, I created the TRC in Blue Dawn before Biden proposed his Disinformation Board. Sadly, the left is predictable.  In A Most Uncivil War readers get a more in-depth look inside the TRC. 

The TRC makes use of slogans in the novels. There are hundreds of them, displayed everywhere in America to help govern the right kind of thinking.  I put a smattering of these in the book, but most appear as chapter headings. Below is a list of those from Blue Dawn  and book two of the series, A Most Uncivil War

Sometimes these slogans are directly related to the chapter, sometimes they are not.  I have a massive list of the ones I intend to use in the series (I’m halfway through writing book five).  The slogans are easy to create, all I have to do is put on the news for an hour and I get one or two.  Some are somewhat contradictory, because tyrannical governments don’t care about contradictions.  I channel George Orwell often during this process.  Where he focused on three slogans primarily in 1984, I know that in our age, there would be a slogan a day if someone seized control of our nation. 

So here’s the list from the published books so far in the series…

  • Tyranny is what you make it
  • Only the downtrodden are truly free.
  • Everyone is a minority.
  • The past is lies—trust the future!
  • The greatest heroes are victims.
  • Action against one is action against all.
  • History owes us.
  • Putting one first is putting all last.
  • Tolerance is prosperity.
  • People are data
  • Achievement is no one failing.
  • Doing nothing is something.
  • Truth is more tangible than facts.
  • Comfort Equals Compliance.
  • Everyone is owed. Everyone has suffered. Reparations set things right!
  • Data is Reality.
  • Wealth is Weakness… Wealth is a Cancer.
  • Fear makes you brave.
  • Every voice is equal unless it is the voice of intolerance or division.
  • The Individual Is the Enemy. Groups ensure prosperity!
  • A danger to one is a danger to all.
  • Individual achievement hurts us all. Only together can we grow and thrive.
  • Only trust information that is proven trustworthy—look for the Truth Reconciliation Committee logo.
  • Are your neighbors being good citizens? If not, turn them in for reparation points. The more points you have, the more you earn. Surveillance is every person’s responsibility.
  • Social Justice Is Criminal Justice.
  • The Good of All is the Good of One.
  • Lowering the Bar Ensures Equality.
  • The only trust that matters is between you and the government.
  • Everything bad is systemic.
  • There is nothing that cannot be fixed with government intervention.
  • Someone else is always to blame.
  • Hating the government is hating yourself.
  • Freedom is selfish.
  • Words are more deadly than bullets.
  • Being afraid is being vigilant.
  • The greatest threats to our nation are those that refuse to accept their inherent flaws.
  • Victims are symbols of hope.
  • Hurt feelings are a form of abuse.
  • When everyone cheers, watch for the handful that doesn’t. They are the enemies.
  • Questioning authority is a form of insurrection.
  • There’s a fine line between rhetoric and reality, one best defined by your leaders.
  • The hate of one reflects the hate of all.
  • Fear is a virtue
  • The loudest voices are the ones that are right.
  • Do you like the weather today? Thank your government and the New Green Deal!
  • Individual needs corrupt the needs of the whole.
  • The only virtues that matter are those that are sanctioned.
  • Those who deny systemic racism are the worst kind of racists.
  • If you think you are possibly being oppressed—you are.
  • There are no crises—there are only opportunities to excel.
  • If it is not for the betterment of all; it is not for the betterment of one.
  • History without proper interpretation is nothing more than myths and lies.
  • The only fair elections are the ones that we say are fair.
  • Freedom is overrated. What matters is security.
  • Most people who use the word ‘freedom’ mean the opposite.

What suggestions do you have for future books?  Please put them in the comments below…

The Russia-Ukraine War Factbook is available for pre-order

Not my book, but I am looking forward to it

A friend of mine, Craig Reed, has written one of the first authoritative perspectives of the first part of ‘Putin’s War’ in Ukraine — The Russia-Ukraine War Factbook.  It reminds me of GDW’s Gulf War Fact Book that was so wildly successful decades ago.  From exerts, the book doesn’t do so much of a deep dive into the war, but rather sifts through to the facts.  In a war where the media was part of the propaganda, a book dealing with just the facts, gleaned from the most official of sources, is a godsend. 

The book is a bit controversial, but not for its content. The publisher Military Miniature Press, has struggled to get word out about this book. Social media platforms have blocked their marketing attempts with the book…a book that isn’t even out yet!  Their reasoning…it might be ‘Russian propaganda.’  Can you believe that?  Some bot tags it because it has the word, ‘factbook’ in it and they can’t communicate to the public about it over their paid social media channels. Worse yet, there is no due process with Facebook and Twitter. There’s no one to make an appeal to, no way to contact these social media giants. Those of you that know me, know that I loathe censorship in almost any form. 

So I decided to write about it – and I hope you will share this to help get the word out!

So who might be interested in this war?  Military historians for sure.  I would think that anyone out there playing modern military miniatures games, such as Team Yankee or Fist Full of TOWs, might benefit from having a book like this to craft some scenarios.

The book covers the first part of the invasion.  It gets past the hype and deals with the realities of the conflict in Ukraine.  I myself am looking forward to the background and history before the war section to get a better understanding of why this invasion happened, beyond the hype the media pushes.  I’m also looking forward to some useful maps of the conflict. 

The Russia-Ukraine War Factbook is available for preorder digitally and paperback from Military Miniature Press right now.  Amazon.com has the Kindle version available for preorder as well. 

If you are a modern military junkie or gamer, this might just be the fix you are looking for. Please check it out and spread the word.

Sign up for the Splashdown Kickstarter

Really excited about the first novel coming out!

Creative Juggernaut Blog

A Lion Class ASHUR rig

We’re pleased to announce that our Kickstarter will be launching this fall for our new gaming and fiction franchise, Land & Sea.  We are rolling it out with the intro trilogy of books, starting with the first novel – Splashdown.  Once we get the novels out we will then be moving on to the tabletop and roleplaying games. 

The image is the cover of Splashdown. What you see is an ASHUR rig – named for the Assyrian god of war. Twenty-five years from now, ASHUR’s dominate the battlefield. The battlespace of combat is mix of armor, GRD’s (Ground Robotic Drones), infantry, and ASHUR’s. It is warfare evolved, and Land & Sea is a military sci-fi series that will grab your attention and hold it tight.

We will be exploring the universe more in future posts.  For now, if you want to be informed…

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The Settings in A Most Uncivil War

Available on Amazon now.

Spoiler Alert – please read the novel first. It’s available on Amazon.

Like it’s predecessor novel Blue Dawn, A Most Uncivil War covers a lot of geography.  It has to.  America is vast and the diverse locations are fertile ground for the characters to interact with.  Many of the places that are referenced I actually visited. Those that I did not, I tracked with street views from Google Maps and other photographs that are online.

The use of the Alamo was always going to be a part of the novel. I’m a big fan of battles that are last stands, or where the odds are overwhelming.  I have read Three Roads to the Alamo now four times.  My wife and I have a trip planned there this fall.

The Alamo is important as a symbol, not just for Texas but for all Americans.  In recent years, woke historians have tried to downplay the Alamo.  They believe that the battle is insignificant because some of the leaders owned slaves – which in their minds, taints the importance of the battle and the location.  It is frustrating and angering to me as a military historian to hear alleged peers adopt this kind of socio-revisionist-history.

The use of San Antonio and Alamo was not a fluke.  I planted the Easter Egg for it in Blue Dawn. There are a few little surprises in that first book and in this one that will play out as bigger storylines in the coming novels. Likewise there are Easter Eggs in A Most Uncivil War that will come into play two books down the line. Yes, the storylines are planned out that far, if not father.

Would a woke mob want to destroy the Alamo the way I portrayed it in the book?  I believe yes, if given the right opportunity, they would.  We have seen statues of Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Thomas Jefferson, and others destroyed, damaged or removed because Progressive radicals believe the men were flawed or they don’t agree with their politics.  Given the right circumstances, yes, they would attempt to destroy a historic icon like the Alamo. In fact, they would do so with glee if they believed they could get away with it.

All people are flawed, myself included. Trying to erase our history is the errand of fools and the weak-minded. Their misguided and destructive inclinations are doing irreparable damage to our country – but then again, that is their goal.  I wanted to capture that essence in the book. 

The setting was also critical in the character arc of Trip Reager. Trip is an interesting character who develops throughout the Blue Dawn series. He is Texan, and to him, protecting the Alamo is more of a natural instinct than a set of orders. Trip’s role the night the Newmericans came to destroy the Alamo is integral to his being.  

Nashville was a necessary scene as well in my mind.  Nashville was a natural location for the Southern White House. I visited there during CrimeCon a few years ago, not realizing I was doing research at the time for this novel.  The buildings and locations mentioned in the book are quite real.   

The “Southern White House” in the new novel

The other major geographic area covered is downtown Chicago.  We all like to think we understand what urban combat is, but we have never seen it in a city as big as Chicago.  You might argue Kiev, but Chicago presents a lot of complexities that military planners would struggle to contemplate or compensate for.  Having been raised in Michigan, I visited Chicago a lot in my early life.  I walked Grant Park some 15 years ago, so I know the ground.  I wanted to have a battle there because it is the last place you might expect such a fight.

Will the new American civil war be coming to your hometown or city?  It is quite possible as this series of novels expands. Hints as to the locations of coming scenes are in A Most Uncivil War if you look hard enough. The war for the soul of the nation is just beginning…

A Most Uncivil War Is Now Available in Paperback and Kindle Formats

The culture wars spill over onto the battlefield.

What follows is non-spoiler stuff. 

It is my pleasure to announce that the second book of the Blue Dawn series, A Most Uncivil War, is now available for purchase in trade paperback and Kindle formats.  The audiobook is coming!  It is a conservative political thriller, so know up front that it may not appeal to some readers. I do recommend reading Blue Dawn before jumping in on A Most Uncivil War.   

This book is set just a few days after the end of Blue Dawn. It carries the events forward after the swearing in of the former Vice President as the American President. Most of the original cast of characters are front and center, along with a handful of new personalities. You will be presented with new perspectives of the totalitarian Progressive state, Newmerica…from both sides of the political fence.

Like its predecessor novel, it is structured with some key flashback sequences to backfill some of the character arcs.  I am following that same format with all of the Blue Dawn series. 

What excites me about this novel is that I got to write battle scenes.  I cut my teeth writing military science fiction with BattleTech and it as a thrill to get to do that again with contemporary weapons. The Second American Civil War ignites with this novel which is pretty exciting stuff. A Most Uncivil War is the lighting of the fuse that risks tearing apart our nation once and for all.  Then again, freedom is worth fighting for. 

This isn’t just about war – it’s a solid political thriller as well. Both sides in this conflict are digging in for what may be a long conflict of competing ideologies.  I have a lot of fun pairing up some of the characters – people we might not normally see together.  Friendships are forged and alliances are drawn as tensions escalate across the country. 

And best of all – the Alamo is part of a critical scene.  As with all the books in the series, key landmarks from American history are going to factor into the stories. My respect for Texas runs deep and being able to leverage this landmark was a blast – almost literally.

Most importantly, I had a lot of fun writing this book.  I always have fun writing, but often that is tempered by fact checkers exceeding their authority, or editors that agree to book outlines then come back with sweeping changes, or other people in the process who presume to know more about your book and characters than you do.  Writing in my own universe has a freedom and a certain amount of special glee. Having this kind of control is invigorating and I hope you feel it when you read the book.    

Please help spread the word…the conflict is starting and this time bullets are being traded for words in the culture wars!   

Review of Two Hundred Years of Tyranny by Matt Erickson

I try and support other authors as much as possible, especially those that write about politically sensitive subjects.  In our social media rage-induced world, anyone daring to tackle a subject that is such an emotional lightning rod as politics is brave in my eyes. Full disclosure, I don’t know Matt Erickson.  I purchased a copy of his book, so these are my unsolicited views. 

Matt Erickson’s book, Two Hundred Years of Tyranny is a quick hard-hitting read.  He argues, convincingly I might add, that Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, John Marshall, utilized the case Cohens v. Virginia, along with Marbury v. Madison and McCulloch v. Maryland, to alter the very fabric that our Founding Fathers established for our country. In his own words, Erickson says, “Together, these three court cases firmly set the federal government upon a divergent path away from the limited-government model the Framers had established, towards the all-powerful model that Alexander Hamilton had sought at the Constitutional Convention of 1787, but didn’t get.”

At first, I had to admit, I was skeptical.  I knew Marbury v. Madison from civics class in high school, but not in this context.  Erickson uses the 120 pages of this book to dissect these cases, their interconnections, and the far reaching impacts these continue to have on our lives.  In a weekend where there was wailing and moaning about the Supreme Court, my consumption of the book was incredibly timely.  Moreover, it is clear that the decisions of the court do directly impact our lives, often in ways we cannot fully understand. 

A lot of this book delves into the legalities of these cases and how they were misinterpreted to allow for a greater federal government.  I cannot profess being a master of such material, but I can say that Mr. Erickson has forced me to consider some things that I had not done before. While we are so focused on recent events and the 20th and 21st century perspectives of the dominance of the federal government, Erickson taught me that the roots lay back in the 19th century, if not further back. Erickson has a mastery of his subject matter, putting into plain English impacts that I had never contemplated.

If you are a fan of constitutional books, this is a homerun for you. It certainly has got me pondering what other little treasures have been unleashed by the Supreme Court that I was unaware of.