When you are writing a novel as encompassing as Blue Dawn I thought that it would be important to include a number of geographic locations that would resonate with a broad number of readers. This is, after all, a story that embroils all of the country. Some images, like that of a blow-up Mt. Rushmore, I thought were going to register with readers as something they could visualize.
Some of the locales were not familiar with readers, but are real life places. I spent a lot of time looking at images on the internet so that I described them as accurately as possible. So, here’s a few of the more prominent locations and my thoughts behind them.
Mt. Rushmore. I had someone say, “No one is planning on destroying Mt. Rushmore.” On July 10, 2020, USA Today actually ran an op ed piece calling for just that. Ironically, I had already written those scenes in the novel by then, but it was chilling. Mt. Rushmore is iconic of American history, so naturally it would be a target for the extremists that seize power in Blue Dawn. In the novel, I also make reference to the unfinished Hall of Records. The hall does exist, behind Lincoln’s bust on the memorial, though I massaged the description slightly.
Bumblehive. The National Security Agency does have a facility in Utah named Bumblehive. All we know for sure is that it is a cybersecurity facility. The attack, as I described it in the book is fiction in that I could not find comprehensive photos of the entire exterior. As a former IT leader, I can assure you, that such an attack would be conceivable, though I cannot confirm or deny whether it would work at the Bumblehive facility.
Valley Forge. When I conceived of the concept of Social Quarantine camps, I envisioned them going up on national park lands in many instances. There’s a long history of such parkland being used for camping and even for places where military training maneuvers were done in WWII. I opted for Valley Forge because it has ties directly back to the War of Independence – so having it being a Social Quarantine camp made it a great juxtaposition for independence and freedom.
Side Note: I’ve had people say that the whole concept of Social Quarantine camps is ludicrous; that we would never put people into camps for their beliefs. I point to Australia setting up quarantine camps this summer. Sure, these are COVID camps, but it does make you wonder just how far off we would be to lock up people for not having the right thoughts. Remember, Donald Trump lost his social media accounts, not for what he said, but for what he might say. History has shown the censorship of ideas or books is merely a stepping stone to greater oppression and the greater oppression is Social Quarantine.
The Garden. I made this up entirely but there is a logic to it. Every time a historic figure’s statue is torn down, there are promises that it will be moved to a place of prominence. Most of the time this is a lie. Those torn down in Richmond have been unceremoniously dumped at a wastewater treatment plant in the city. It only makes sense that the Newmerican government would assemble them in some isolated place, and use it as bait to lure in those who they deem undesirable. Is it hard to believe that the government might set up such a park, a place to dump the history they are so bent on erasing? Let’s hope that I’m not right about this.
Book Two of the Blue Dawn series is done and in the publisher’s hands, and like the first one, it will take readers on a tour of the country under Newmerican rule. I believe this helps readers engage with the characters, especially if they have visited the places in question.
There’s an old joke about writers. “You should write a book you like, because you are going to have to read it about 20 times.” There is some truth in that. As an author, you need to craft a story for an audience. That doesn’t mean that you give them what they want to expect, but you have to understand your reader’s demographic. In the case of Blue Dawn, it is a conservative political thriller – so my audience is people with conservative leanings.
You also have to be prepared to read your story over and over again. It wouldn’t do to write a novel that you didn’t enjoy reading yourself. Trust me, the editing process is one of long hours, self-reflection, accepting critique of your work, and staying true to your ideals. The adage that everyone has a novel in them may or may not be true – but I assure you, not everyone can endure the editing process.
Warning – you are about to enter a spoiler-zone, so bail if you haven’t read the novel yet.
So what are the story elements I enjoyed the most?
The Sons of Liberty (The SOL)
The original Sons of Liberty were provocateurs, protesters, and trouble makers for the British crown in the United States. They were responsible for the Boston Tea Party. As a historian, I wanted that connection to our past in Blue Dawn.
It didn’t feel right to just have them exist. So in the context of the novel, they arose out of the ashes of the Fall/Liberation – only to get squashed by the Newmerican government. This made them the underdog immediately. When they were reborn, they were wiser, craftier, and even more potent of a force for liberty…at least that is how I portray them in the novel. As I move into the third novel of the series (which is being written right now), we will see a grittier side to the SOL.
The Time Hopsin the Story
One thing I am doing with all of the Blue Dawn books thus far is giving readers a glimpse into past events with characters, that reflect on who they are at the time of the book. With Charli, for example, we eventually see the fate of the President she was protecting. For Jack, we learn more about why he is the way he is. These time hops can be jarring for a reader, but in the end, I think, they provide some real depth to the character that might otherwise just be explained in rather bland text.
Blowing up Big Tech
There is a trinity that props up Newmerica. Politicians, the mainstream media, and Big Tech. It is an unholy alliance as I portray it. In the novel, this allows the fall of the legitimate government to the progressives. Negating Big Tech in the novel requires the destruction of Facebook, Twitter, and Google’s HQ’s. I toyed with a lot of technological ways to take down these companies, but those solutions were dull. This, after all, is a most uncivil war being waged. So I resorted to good old-fashioned explosions in the novel. This is not about the buildings, but about the people. The technology cannot be maintained and managed without human control and once those employees that survive are filled with fear, they will be hesitant in operating the technology that aids the government. Terrorist attack? Yes. Far-fetched? Let’s hope so. Realistic? Yes.
Someone sent me a message saying, “We would never destroy Mt. Rushmore.” I don’t believe that for a moment. We have had over a year of statues being destroyed, dismantled, and cast aside. Nothing is sacred right now. I thought including Mt. Rushmore, both on the cover of the novel and in the story was important. The Hall of Records behind Lincoln’s head is a real thing. I wanted the characters there, at a real place, something that everyone would recognize.
The Takeover of the Studio
The takeover of the TV studio was a strange joy to write. I love the line about, “You have guns…you’re terrorists.” “Guns don’t kill, I kill.” I like this 2A positioning in the novel. I also liked the “Shit, this kid just pissed himself.” For me, that was a touch of realism that makes the scene a little more authentic.
“God Bless America”
At the end, when the NSF trooper lets the heroes go free with “God bless America,” it is significant. One it is a patriotic moment (guilty as charged!) Second, it shows that not everyone in the Newmerica government is an ardent follower. We live in a world where few things are black and white. Many things are gray. The same applies to the characters, even the small bit ones.
In Blue Dawn, the government is overthrown at the beginning of the book and the the event itself essentially creates the characters of the novel. The characters are a byproduct of the progressive coup d’etat that takes down America and all of its institutions. Taking down the USA means replacing it with Newmerica. The thugs that seized power, ANTIFA, become Social Enforcers, a new generation of brown shirts. Any ‘radicals’ (i.e. conservatives) are rounded up and their leaders sent off to Social Quarantine camps – under the auspices that it is for their own good. The book takes place five years after this violent change, where almost all traces of old America are erased. Our flag, our money, our history, our anthem…they are all thrown aside for symbols representing a true woke state. The characters are forced to react to all of this change, and in many ways, that defines them. More importantly, many of them lead the fight to reboot the nation and bring back America.
Good books have plots and stories, but ultimately are about characters. Those in Blue Dawn are diverse and provide a glimpse into the setting where their stories take place. Blue Dawn is not about a single character, but an ensemble of interesting people. Given the breadth of the story, it was necessary to tell it from a number of angles.
The characters are what drive their individual stories. Their stories are intertwined, allowing for some interesting combinations.
While the events create the characters, it is the characters that drive the story. So here’s my take on the key characters:
Andy. Andy is everyman. The core of this character is that he is a loyal son. His father was a rebel, of sorts, and paid a price for that independent streak. Like so many of us, there is a part of him that wants to be like his father, but can’t find that path in life. Also, like many people, Andy doesn’t want to see or deal with the big picture issues of Newmerica. It is easier to look the other way or pretend things are not happening. Bit by bit, he is drawn into the anguish of trying to survive in this rebranded nation. Andy comes to grips not only with his father’s past, but his own destiny. His sister Karen, well, she’s a piece of work. In many respects, this novel is his story first and foremost. Andy is all of us at one point or another. I always pictured John Krasinski playing Andy.
Charli. Charli carries a burden that unfolds in the novel. She was assigned to protect the President and in many ways, failed; though it isn’t until late in the book that the reader understands what really happened. She has been living in the shadows ever since the Fall. She has to come out of that hiding essentially to protect Andy – and in the end her arc brings her back to where she started. In my mind, if anyone was to play her part in a film, it would be Ronda Rousey – though she would be a great fit for Caylee as well.
Raul. On the surface the Youth Corps sounds like a wonderful thing. Raul joins and is idealistic. Like so many people he sees Newmerica as a good thing. As a writer I had to address a different perspective of Newmerica – and Raul is that vehicle. His attitude remains that way until circumstances change. Once he is impacted, once his life is threatened, his perspective changes. He is thrust into a set of circumstances far beyond his grasp. His actions start riots. He morphs into a very different person, which is a wonderful character arc. Raul represents the masses who buy what the media and the government tell them, hook, line, and sinker.
Caylee. As an NSF operative, she is beyond the law. Operatives do the dirty work of the Newmerican government. There is a formality with her, almost a politeness, even as she is kicking ass. Her world is binary, as is her thinking. When the Secretary turns on her, making her a target, for Caylee there is only one way to go. Caylee is the flip side of the same coin that Charli is cast from. The difference is in the motivation. Caylee is fairly linear in her thinking – things are not gray but are black and white. If she isn’t fighting against you, she is fighting for you; she’s that simple. The person I would cast for her role is Gina Carano.
Jack. Jack, like Charli, has some extreme baggage from the night of the Fall. It took a while, but Jack is all about turning the tables on the people that took everything from him. It has taken years, but he finally has all of his pieces right where he wants them on the game board. Jack is playing the long game. Jack is badly damaged by the events that took place. The difference is that where most people would have wallowed in self-pity, Jack is a person that converts that inner rage into action. Since he can’t have his family back, he’ll setting for getting his country back. I always thought Kevin Costner would be cool playing him.
Karen. Okay, her names says it all. It was too hard to pass up. Karen was willing to throw her father and brother under the bus for her own gain. She represents the woke people out there, without using that term. She reflects everything in her life in terms of how it impacts her. The damage done to others, that means nothing to Karen. Her values are so flexible, they practically don’t exist. She is a person that sees Newmerica as recognizing and elevating her stature in the world, and that makes her a true believer. Newmerica gave her something she craved – power and authority. Like the people on the internet that spend their days attacking others, her sense of being and validation is solely based on the havoc she causes. Her arc is not complicated, and in the end, oddly satisfying.
Some characters, like the President, Vice President, and NSF Secretary are archetypes of real people. I thought it would be distracting to use their names and would only sour people to the story. Having them remain nameless is part of the Newmerica model, where people are depersonalized. These are people you know from the real world. It isn’t necessary to say their names in the book. Besides, the Newmerica government is all about labels, so their names, after five years, have become unimportant. Newmerica packages human lives like products that they position and market to an unsuspecting or uncaring public. These are my high-level perspective of these characters. They are near and dear to my heart.
Good fiction excites the reader and spawns healthy debate and discussion. It can alter perspectives, reaffirm convictions in a reader, and it can stir passions. This is done with good characters and compelling stories. In Blue Dawn, I try and weave these two things together into a lifeline for the reader to hold onto as they read about an overthrown United States, one replaced by a socialist nation called Newmerica.
Let’s start with the title, Blue Dawn. I have always been a fan of the original 1980’s film, Red Dawn. Many people are drawn into tales where people face impossible odds. That’s why the Alamo and the Battle of Camarón, Corregidor, and others resonate with people. Such situations, where people are surrounded, outnumbered, with no hope for victory often tells us the most about their character and how they face those last desperate minutes. In the last year I think many Americans have felt like they were under siege too. Many have felt their values and freedoms under constant assault.
The film Red Dawn also takes people who have zero experience in guerilla warfare, and turns them into freedom fighters – which is a parallel of what happens in Blue Dawn. The movietaps that feeling, of America under attack, being trapped behind enemy lines. It is why it registers with people after all of these years. In Blue Dawn, America is gone – progressives seize control and get everything they want and desire. They do so at the price of freedom and liberty.
We all watched the riots that occurred during the summer of 2020. We saw groups that moved to the forefront like ANTIFA, whose goals include the destruction of America and capitalism. We saw the media largely ignore or downplay the carnage. We witnessed politicians play along, all with a blatant agenda. Everyone witnessed Big Tech manipulating what was seen on social media. It was hard to write this novel because of the underlying events writing themselves as I worked on it.
This book was going to be about the origins of a Second American Civil War. I toyed with a long list of titles, but Blue Dawn clicked with me. Mostly because the book opens five years after a bloody coup to seize control of the United States, morphing the country into a new entity, Newmerica.
For readers to truly understand the new nation, I had to immerse them in that new culture. It is a world where the self-appointed social justice warriors are playing judge and jury against anything they perceive as a slight. It is a nation where neighbors turn on neighbors; where patriotism is a crime, and where conservatives are locked away in Social Quarantine camps ‘for their own protection.’ It is a progressive utopia, at least on the surface. I knew that when many readers read about it they would feel like the characters of the story – they would be angry, they would want this twisted version of our country to come to an end. Ultimately this new twisted version of the nation compels the characters in the novel to fight back against the tyranny that masks itself as a ‘Great Reformation.’
For a long time, at least 6-7 years, I wanted to write a series of books of a new American Civil War, and Blue Dawn kicks that off. It took a long time to get the stories right, develop the right characters, and to refine the setting. I did not want to cover the war from a purely military perspective, but rather through the eyes of characters who grow and evolve.
As to why I wrote this book…I like to think that in our nation’s history, books have spurred thinking, action, and change. Thomas Paine’s Common Sense, Orwell’s 1984 and Animal Farm, Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin, or even Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle all raised issues and concerns to the masses. I don’t believe for a minute that Blue Dawn is that level of inspiration, but it will resonate with many readers.
In the end, it is a piece of fiction. I am not saying this is going to happen, only that I based much of the novel on real-world events. I certainly don’t want this to happen. This is not the story of a single person, but of a group of people who are ultimately drawn together against a common foe – an oppressive socialist state, a shadow of the former United States. Hard times create hard men and women – and Newmerica, for all of its lofty goals and ideals, creates great characters to work with.
Thursday night one of my publishers sponsored a Rally Against Censorship in Houston, Texas at the Woodlands Marriott. It was outstanding, with easily 300+ attendees and some fantastic speakers. For the Defiance Press authors, it was our first chance to ever meet face-to-face and share some of our experiences. You may think it is no big deal, but it is rare that publishers bring their authors together.
The speakers were engaging. Constitutional expert Robert G. Bernhoft talked about censorship and how the media often gets it wrong. We have all been conditioned to believe that you can’t yell “fire!” in a crowded theater. As it turns out, that isn’t the legal standard at all, despite what CNN’s experts like to assert. In reality there is no limitation placed on your free speech. You are responsible, however, for the results of what you do. So if you say something that causes harm, like someone being trampled in a rush out of a theater where you yelled, you are responsible for that.
Sheriff Joe Arpaio was present as well and was an interesting speaker. He talked about his long and prestigious career and his relationship with President Trump. I was moved when he said his wife had been diagnosed with cancer and that the President had called her several times to check on her, unprompted, simply out of concern. You may disagree with his politics, you may cringe at his personality, but I thought this spoke volumes of who Trump is as a person. I missed a few of the speakers because of the steady stream of people at my booth wanting to talk about Blue Dawn.
The conservatives that turned out were wonderful people. The hotel was almost empty because of Covid fear, which was sad. The topic that came up with many people that stopped by and bought books was around threats of new mask mandates. While I didn’t run an official poll, it is safe to say that people are done with mandates, restrictions, and everything connected with crippling our economy. Suffice it to say, the good people of Texas are through with government mandated fear.
The evet was a chance for the authors to meet each other and find ways to support each other. I got to spend some time with Mark Greathouse, one of my favorite western authors. I have a lot of reading to do now including Tanner Roberts 101 Tips To Be A Radical Liberal (which looks hilarious), Justin Sheffield’s MOB VI about his time in the Navy Seals, Elizabeth Jeffett’s books, and Daniel Miller’s Texit. More on these books as I finish reading them!
The topic that brought us together was censorship, specifically, censorship against conservatives. Censorship comes in many forms. As it turns out, I am not the only author that has people out there attempting to intimidate and harass them. Threats against conservative authors are quite real. Sheriff Joe, at the age of 89, has had threats against him which is sickening. Some book chains will not carry our books, not because of their content, but because they refuse to carry conservative titles.
When Blue Dawn launched there was a ‘hiccup’ with Amazon.com canceling the Kindle pre-orders. What I learned was that this little glitch was not uncommon with Amazon and other distribution outlets. Because Defiance is a conservative publisher, Big Tech likes waging what I call, “Monkey Warfare” with our titles. Sometimes they disappear on web sites for days at a time. Other times, the price of a book mysteriously jumps to $800 a copy. Positive reviews that say nothing political are flagged and not posted because they don’t meet community standards. Big Tech is waging a war with conservatives authors and publishers out there to make sure that our stories don’t get told.
Hearing the stories of this suppression at the rally should have been disheartening, but with it did do is fill us with a stern resolve. David Thomas Roberts, the founder of Defiance Press spoke to us the morning after the rally and really inspired us to come together as a group and not succumb to the whining and sabotage of the extreme left. Adding to that, when I heard about some of the new titles that are coming, I have to admit, I was pretty excited and many of you will be too. It was an energizing event.
Thanks goes out to Defiance Press for bringing us together. I encourage you to go to Defiance’s site https://defiancepress.com/ and purchase a good book from a great team.
The following is a free stand-alone piece of fiction set in the universe of Blue Dawn. The novelopens with a night of violence where the White House and Capitol are overrun by protesters. The story picks up five years later as a group of patriots struggle to restore the United States. You can purchase the book right now on Amazon via this link: Blue Dawn
Below is a story about the night of The Liberation/The Fall – the night of the coup. This isn’t in the novel, it is an additional bonus piece of fiction. There are some scenes in Blue Dawn set on this pivotal night, and I thought it would be neat to share an additional piece of fiction from those events. It gives you a flavor of book and is a freebee story all on its own. Enjoy!
All That Glitters
The Night of the Liberation
Camille Dickson was jostled by the crowd of rioters that were packed into the dimly lit streets of the US capital city. The mass was just like her, wearing black bloc, the black clothing and masks designed to obscure their identities. Camille had come down from Carnegie Mellon University earlier in the day on a bus that had been charted by the school ANTIFA group, Equity for All. The bus had been loaded with the usual gear, coolers filled with frozen water bottles and bricks for throwing at police, umbrellas for concealment, and clubs (some wrapped in barbed wire) for attacking law enforcement. She had been surprised at some of the other gear for this riot. Roman candles, mortars purchased at Phantom Fireworks, gasoline containers and bottles prepped for Molotov cocktails. The stink from the gas containers made the bus ride down I-95 nauseating, but there was something about this trip that felt very different to her. We are not messing around anymore. We are loading up for war.
There were a lot of reasons for her to be angry and frustrated. While the Democrats had won the election, the President-elect mysteriously died. While the autopsy said it was a cerebral aneurism, rumors abounded that he had been deliberately infected with COVID 19 and had died of that. CNN had an entire series of experts that said that there were many drugs that could have been used to induce an aneurism. The VP-elect was prepared to take his place, but she had been shot by a white nationalist. To Camille and the other members of her chapter, none of this could be coincidence. That traitor in the White House…he’s behind this. He must have had something to do with the death of the incoming President. And that racist asshole that shot the VP…well, everyone knows that the Traitor President is himself a white supremacist. This is all his doing! All people have to do is follow the bread crumbs. It still amazed her that half of the country turned a blind eye to the events.
The Traitor had promised free elections, but no one believed him. He caused this crisis to stay in power. We are not going through months of campaigning again. He lost, and is manipulating things to stay in power. The time has come for us to seize what is rightfully ours. The system is corrupt and needs to be taken down once and for all. Capitalism and the corrupt United States…it all has to be taken down.
Up until this point the individual ANTIFA teams had not coordinated their efforts. A relative unknown named Daniel Porter had changed that. He reached out to the leadership, organized them, got them to work together. It was a tenuous alliance at best, but so far it was holding.
As Equity for All’s bus lumbered into Lincoln Park, belching diesel fumes, she realized just how many rioters were in the city. It was a sea of black clad people. The air stung of a strange mix of Axe Body Spray, sweat, and a hint of smoked weed. She was used to it, having taken part in the riots in New York earlier in the year. Camille pulled her black face covering up, not to protect herself from COVID, but to make sure that no camera picked up anything that might identify her. If my parents knew I was here they’d be furious. A part of that thought made her smile.
Camille didn’t fear her parent’s wrath. She loved her parents and at the same time loathed their naïveté. Her father was the epitome of a capitalist, working at a consulting firm. He liked to think of himself as a hired gun, a tech expert that was brought in to solve issues companies struggled with. In Camille’s mind he was part of a larger problem. He’s making money off of other people’s misery. Worse yet, her father was a die-hard Republican – a member of the party of tyranny. She saw him as an exploiter in her heart. When she had told him she was pursuing a degree in Ethics, History and Public Policy, his first reaction had been, “How are you going to make a living with that?” It is always about money with Frank. He doesn’t understand that it isn’t about income, but satisfaction that matters.
Her mother was worse in her mind, always bragging about volunteering to help the underprivileged through the family church. Her mother was always blind to the reality – that Christian churches were a blight, imposing morals that chaffed with Camille’s beliefs. The fact that they thought people were underprivileged…people beneath them…only confirmed their arrogance. Yes, her family paid for her schooling, but she had shed the values they held after her first semester at CMU. When we reshape this country, people like them will have the hardest time adapting. They will have to pay a hefty price for not supporting the cause. A part of her was looking forward to the new era and the struggles her parents would endure. It was justice – social justice.
Where the Emancipation Memorial had once stood there was nothing left but the stumps of the legs of Abraham Lincoln, covered in the letters ‘BLM’ and other graffiti. Several protesters stood where the legs had been cut off, waving large black flags with three arrows on them. Good! That statue was an insult. By its very nature it was racist. Camille felt a little disappointed she had not been there to see it be torn down and destroyed. Despite that sense of having missed out on the destruction, she could not escape a feeling of pride at being there. People put far too much emphasis on Lincoln anyways. From her professors she knew the truth, that privileged white people in the 1860’s had very little to do with freeing blacks; they only had done enough to create the illusion of freedom. I’m ashamed that I am of a race that was part of such crimes. Of course it was that very thinking, cemented by her instructors, that had driven her to be a freedom fighter in ANTIFA.
Joshua, the leader of her ANTIFA cell, tossed back his mop of curly hair and used his arms to get his people huddled together. “When the fireworks start going off near the White House, we are going to move on the US Mint,” he said proudly. “That’s the target they gave us. We are to take and hold it.”
“I thought we were hitting the Capitol?” Judy spoke up from behind the black scarf wrapped around her face to hide her identity.
“No, we drew the Mint,” Joshua yelled back defiantly over the din of the crowd. “That’s what we got, and we are going to deliver. We expect that they will have US Mint Police on the roof in night gear. We are going to set off our fireworks right in their fucking faces – blind them. We have a battering ram and crowbars to get through the doors. Several of us are armed. If they start shooting, we will take the bastards down!” There was a cheer, barely audible over the chanting and angry voices of the crowd.
Camille was right – this was not like the other protests. There was a feeling that it was more organized…coordinated. She didn’t question who was calling the shots, who had assigned them the Mint. All that mattered was that they had a target. She had been arguing all along they needed more organization. Tonight it all comes crashing down. I’m going into the belly of the capitalist beast – the Mint.
* * * * *
Captain Diego Sanchez of the US Mint Police could not hide his emotions as he lowered the phone. After long years of service, both in the Army and then in the Mint Police, he had never been able to muster a poker face with bad news. This news was some of the worst he could imagine.
There had been protests going in the District ever since the election. The death of the President-elect had stirred a hate that had been already boiling during the pandemic. The rioters had been getting bolder, more daring, more violent with each passing night. The mayor had made matters worse, pulling back the Washington Metropolitan Police due to ‘security concerns.’ She told the media that the protests were mostly peaceful, which was a blatant lie. His own car had been hit with rocks and glass bottles on the way in daily.
Diego Sanchez had been born in the US, right after his mother had come across the border. The hate that the people exhibited to the country ate at him. He saw America as a land of opportunity, where others saw it as a land of suppression. It wasn’t that he had never been exposed to racism, he had in his youth. He knew that if you worked hard and were dedicated, you could rise past that. To Diego, the best revenge in life was being successful, and he had achieved that. He was in charge of protecting the US Mint in the capital of the United States, and damned proud of it.
“What is it sir?” asked Sergeant Robertson ominously, rubbing his chin as he stared intently into Sanchez’s dark brown eyes.
“DHS says we are on our own,” he said solemnly. “The protest crowd is larger than ever. They have to divert everything to Capitol Hill and the White House.” As he repeated what he had been told a knot started to grow in his stomach.
“You think they’ll come here?” asked the newest member of the force, Jackson Rodriguez.
He drew a long breath and surveyed the small team he had to protect the Washington DC Mint. “In the long history of these United States, no one has ever tried to seize a mint other the robbery in Denver in the 1920’s. It’ll be a cold day in hell if I’m going to let it happen on my watch,” he said, turning to Robertson. “Dan, call in everybody off-shift. Tell them to hightail it in here now,” he turned to Lieutenant Fields. “Debbie, get together a team. Use those concrete benches out front, form barricades on the entrances. Leave room for us to assemble before the doors. Chain and secure the side doors.” Fields nodded rapidly. “I want A Squad on the roof, full night vision. Everyone gets masks, tear gas, and riot gear.” His people could sense the ratcheting-up of tension.
“No one might come at all, but DHS thinks we are on a hit list. We are going to get through this,” he said in a low tone. God I hope so…
* * * * *
Off to the west the sky suddenly filled with fireworks, almost like an accursed Fourth of July display. This was different though. Mixed in with the commercial fireworks were deep thudding explosions that shook Camille’s chest. Those are not fireworks – they are using real explosives! Smoke rolled up out of the area near the White House, illuminated by the streetlights and the roman candles firing skyward. This is not like any of our other protests, this time we are playing for keeps!
Joshua stood in front of her, cupping his hands like a mini-bullhorn in front of his mouth. “That’s the signal! Let’s move!”
Camille’s heart pounded in her chest. She had never felt so alive, so a part of something important. Tonight…we make history.
It should have been a half hour walk to reach the Mint on a normal night, but tonight was anything but normal. Groups from all over the east coast, each with strange names, The Bangers, Devil’s Wings, the Loose Lefties, roamed the streets, armed and chanting. Some were openly looting the local businesses, the police were nowhere in sight. To Camille, it was just stuff. The business owners would file insurance claims and get reimbursed for anything they lost. They were just capitalists after all, they deserved a little heartache, especially after what they had put the nation through. She could not help but smile as she saw black-bloc clad street warriors coming out of a deli through the smashed window, their arms filled with bags of chips and other foodstuffs. This is what it is all about, us taking back our country and rebooting it, setting right the wrongs.
The popping of distant guns and the flash of fireworks only heightened the tension of the night. It took the Equity for All over an hour on the packed streets to reach the US Mint. The building was dull looking, concrete and brick, looming only a few stories high and filling well over a block of the city. This was it, the root of all evil. Some might argue that the Traitor President was the root cause of the nation’s problems, but Camille knew differently. Money was the real poison in the nation. The wrong people had it. The people that deserved it were being held in place by a powerful few. Tonight that could come to an end.
When they arrived at the Mint’s headquarters on 9th Street NW, it was clear the protesters had been expected. The exterior was locked up with barricades in place. The side doors, large metal ones, had been chained and padlocked. The main entrance was barricaded with several concrete benches, laid lengthwise and stacked to form a wall in front of the bronze doors that led inside. Behind the barrier was a handful of US Mint Police, one of DC’s dozen or so police forces. The USMP officers were wearing body armor, helmets and armed with menacing assault weapons. As the crowd surged around the entrance, an uneasy moment of standoff formed between the defenders and the sea of black clad youth.
“This is an unlawful assembly,” a voice boomed from a megaphone behind the barrier. “You are ordered to disperse immediately.” To Camille, it was the voice of oppression…the cry of tyranny. We have every right to be here! This belongs to us!
The distant popping of gunfire, the rumble of either explosions or fireworks, only seemed to fuel the protesters. A few bricks and frozen glass bottles flew from the black clothed liberators, raining down on the makeshift barricade, sending shards of glass and bits of stone flying. It continued for more than a minute, and a part of her wondered if the USMP officers were contemplating standing down. Joshua ordered the fireworks set off, aimed at the roof, negating any night vision gear they might be using. The display was spectacular and garnered almost no immediate response from the rooftop.
Then came the tear gas. Fired canisters arced in the air, over the first three rows of protesters, raining down in the rear. Some canisters went deep into their ranks, fired from the rooftops. Camille put on the goggles that Equity for All had brought for just such a countermeasure. Her mask didn’t choke out the smell and her eyes still stung, the googles were not perfect but helped. Snot clogged her nose as she kept her gaze on the prize – the Mint doors looming beyond the barricade. Some of her group picked up the canisters and threw them back, falling short, filling the space between the two groups with a haze of toxic smoke. Another person threw a wet blanket over another canister, preventing the smoke from spreading. The countermeasures seemed to help with her breathing. Is that the best you’ve got? We had all summer to learn how to deal with your imperialist tactics.
Another salvo of bricks from the ANTIFA group followed, arcing high and raining down on and behind the barricade. The wave of blunt objects solicited a staccato of fire from behind the barrier. Weapons, at least a half dozen, opened up, their crack-pops filling the night, their flashes visible in the cracks of the barrier. Glancing upward, there were flashes of gunfire from the rooftop as well. She saw at least three of the protesters in the front row shield wall drop, while others picked up their Plexiglas shields and take their place. She felt a searing pain in her right thigh and knelt quickly to look at it. No blood, but it hurt, even through her black jeans. Fucking rubber bullets. Camille shook her head. We are not here to play games tonight.
Joshua turned from the second row of the protesters. “Light them up!” he commanded. Camille’s heart raced with those words.
A new wave of roman candles and commercial mortars went off from the rear, angled down this time, lighting up the front of the US Mint like a compressed Fourth of July display. The mortars were the worst, they bounced off the barricades and exploded, raining hot sparks on both sides of the emerging conflict. It caused the defenders to huddle and take cover, so their rain of rubber had come to a temporary halt. Some of the protesters were burned as well, the mortars didn’t distinguish their victims.
The fireworks were followed immediately with a salvo of Molotov cocktails. Filled in the rear ranks, they were passed forward, lit and tossed. Four of them went one right after another. Two fell short, shattering and sending a plume of orange flames billowing skyward. One hit the building behind the barrier, sending lapping fire up the side of the building. Another hit the barrier, right near where two of the concrete benches came together. That one splashed gasoline into the barricade itself. The flames lapped upward, illuminating the building, adding a new black smoke to the hints of tear gas still lingering. The light from the fires and the sputtering fireworks made the smoke look ominous, almost like monsters looming in the night.
* * * * *
Captain Sanchez gritted his teeth inside of the gas mask as the flames roared up the side of the building next to him. The heat made him flinch and recoil behind the makeshift concrete barrier. One of his personnel, Ashley Bond, turned towards him and saw her arm was on fire. He patted it out quickly with his gloved hands, feeling the sting of the melting material on his right wrist.
His gas mask lenses was starting to fog as a glass bottle shattered above him, raining down bits of sharp shrapnel. These little shits are not just protesting, this is a siege! Looking around the cramped space in front of the massive bronzed doors, he realized that their position was at risk.
I can’t give up. Protecting this building is my responsibility. He grabbed the transmit button on the mike on the shoulder of his tactical gear. “This is Ramrod to all units. Use of live ammo is authorized.” The words were bitter in his mouth. He knew that people were going to die with that decision. Worse yet, the culture of the nation was such that when it happened, his officers would be stained a criminals. As a Roman candle ball burst on the wall above him and showed him with hot sparks, he purged that thinking and fast. If they want to dance, I’ll call the tune. “Repeat, this is Ramrod. Live ammo is authorized.”
He lifted his weapon and fired a burst of three rounds into the front ranks of the black-clad mob, aiming at what appeared to be the lead instigator, the one barking out orders to the others…
* * * * *
The US Mint Police returned fire with deadly accuracy. The first shots hit Joshua, but these were not rubber bullets. His head exploded in a spray of crimson gore that splattered the front lines of Equity for All’s force. Others tore into the shield wall, and the cries of those hit filled the air. Camille’s heart pounded in her ears as a droplet of blood, one of her friends, hit her goggles, blurring the vision momentarily in her left eye. Several guns fired from her people as well, thwacking and sparking on the barriers. Several bullets hit the glass portions of the entry doors but only left fractured marks. Bulletproof glass!
More Molotov Cocktails flew as the black-clad line started to fall back. One in particular arced high in the air, coming down on the left side of the barricade on the far side, where the defenders were huddled. Some of the gunfire stopped and she saw the doors behind the barrier open and the US Mint Police dart through the opening and into the interior. They are retreating!
“Rush them!” she cried out, so loud that her voice was simply lost in the din of other voices roaring and screaming out. Suddenly she was caught up in the rush towards the now-abandoned barricades. The taste of the tear gas in her mouth made her want to vomit, but she ignored it. As they surged forward, her feet fell on Joshua’s body, almost invisible in the night. She stepped over him, noting that his death could not be in vain. We are all patriots tonight!
It took several minutes for the crowd to pull down the benches as the gasoline burned away. The big bronze doors were closed, no doubt sealed. Another friend of hers, Paula, called out for the battering ram. The crudely hewn log as brought up and slammed repeatedly into the big pair of doors. At first it seemed to be a futile effort. The imposing doors held firm. As she got closer, she could see blood drops in front of the door and felt a sense of joy. They killed or wounded nearly a dozen of us, including Joshua. She grabbed onto the battering ram and added her strength to the blows.
After nearly two dozen hits, the doors started to show signs of weakening. Crowbars were applied as well, each clawing for any crack or seam that might offer a bit of leverage. The already marred glass began to crack as the doors bent. Finally, after another series of strikes, the hinges on the right side door gave way. With a massive thud, the bronze door fell onto the terrazzo flooring inside, cracking one slab of the polished stone. Camille half stumbled through the opening, pushed by the people behind her and barely able to keep upright.
The hallway was eerily silent compared to the chaos outside. Her people pushed through the opening as if they were water rushing through a hole in a dam. As they clamored into the building, a few shots rang out from down the hall. A young girl, Dana, went down, knocked back by a bullet. Camille pivoted and saw her laying on her back, blood oozing out of her arm as she rocked side-to-side in agony, wailing her pain into the echoing halls. There would be time afterwards to help her – all that matters now was securing the Mint. Several of the rioters opened fire at a target she couldn’t see. Bullets ricocheted down the hallway and off of the floors in the distance. A glass door at the end of the hallway exploded, spilling thousands of fragments onto the floor. Camille pressed forward with the rest of the crowd.
* * * * *
Captain Sanchez glanced at his shoulder where a bullet had cut a furrow into his flesh. His blue shirt was soaked crimson down the sleeve from the wound. He knew from his training in the Army that the shot was not fatal, the blood made it look a lot worse than it was.
They had fallen back to a place in the central hallway, where he could control access to the main stairs and elevators as well as access to the printing presses. They had cobbled together a fallback position out of furniture that was already starting to get riddled with bullet holes. The thick oak tables that were laid on their long sides stopped the smaller caliber bullets, but many others simply snap-cracked through. They had draped spare Kevlar tactical vests over the wood in some places, which at least stopped some of the shots.
Glancing over to his right he saw the burly Sergeant Robertson, a stream of blood running from his curly hair down onto his shirt. Propping himself up, he fired a spray of automatic fire down the hallway. The terrazzo floor chipped and sparked as the bullets danced into the rioters ranks. Two fell fast, while others dove for cover.
“You okay?” Sanchez asked as he did a fast check of his own magazine. His ears had popped as soon as the firing started indoors, despite the plugs he put in. TV always made firing a gun indoors look easy. In reality, it was deafening.
“We don’t have enough ammo,” Robertson replied, reloading and firing a controlled short burst down the hall.
Sanchez’s mind tried to come up with option. He had deployed the roof team to the rear doors at the other end of the building, and hadn’t heard anything from them. There was no other fallback position for them, nowhere else for them to go. This is it – last stand.
A spray of bullets tore into their defensive position. Robertson lurched back, falling on the floor in a crimson smear. His eyes were open, staring up at the florescent lighting above them, but he was gone…Diego could see that. Damn!
One round hit the table in front of him, throwing a bit of splintered oak into his knee like a knife. He reeled under it. Then came a pair of hits on his bulletproof tactical vest. Each felt like a mule kicking him, throwing him back. Another shot hit him in his right arm. For a moment, everything flashed white in his eyes – the pain was so intense. With his free arm he swung the weapon around, switching to full auto, and sprayed the hallway where the shots were coming from.
Just before he passed out he saw Lieutenant Debbie Fields drop next to him, half of her head gone and her gray matter exposed. Sanchez wanted to throw up, but the searing pain seemed to sweep him. A wave of vertigo took him and hit the floor hard. The last sensation he felt for before passing out was a blunt object hitting his jaw.
* * * * *
Twenty-eight minutes later…
As she entered the massive print room she was awestruck with its size and scope. The last of the US Mint Police had made a bloody last stand in a hallway. A lot of good people were dead and wounded before a thrown Molotov cocktail had set the police position ablaze. Several attempted to surrender, but the students were past that point. They pounced on the officers who held their hands up, flailing at them madly with clubs. She stepped forward and commanded her comrades to stop, and they did…far too late for one of the officers who lay beaten to death. The image of the blood and gore no longer startled her. This was war, a war they were winning.
The last surviving Mint Police officer was dragged in front of her. He was a Hispanic officer, his arms covered in blood. His right eye was starting to swell shut. His name badge on his tactical vest was covered with blood but she could make out ‘Sanchez.’ Camille looked at him with hate. Police are racists, all of them. She saw them for what they were, a part of a brutalizing system to keep free people suppressed. Worse yet, he should be fighting with us. He’s a traitor to his own people. Tyrin, a portly youth who had helped drag the officer out, looked up to her. “What do we do with him?”
It was in that moment that she realized that somehow she was in charge. Joshua was dead, so were others. They were looking to her now. She never felt so empowered, so free. She glared down at the officer. The students holding him on either side lifted him so she could see his face. Their deaths can’t have been in vain. “You want to beg for your life I suppose?”
The fear washed from his face, replaced with an icy resolve, almost as if he had gotten his second wind. Through his bloodied lips, he dared to smile back at her. “Fuck off,” he said, spitting a little blood at her in the process. The splatter was almost invisible on her black pants. “You think you’ve accomplished something. You’re wrong. All you’ve done is prove you’re just a bunch of murderers. Your parents should be ashamed you were even born.” It was clear that he knew his fate was sealed.
Camille didn’t have to speak the order. One of the students holding the officer drove down the butt of the rifle into the top of his head with a solid crunching-crack. His body went limp, his eyes closed. They let his body fall limp on the cold terrazzo floor. Blood pooled from where his scalp had been torn by the brutal hit. She eyed the corpse for a minute. You may be right, my parents will be ashamed…and I don’t give a fuck. The order of power is changing, and we are leading it.
* * * * *
Fifteen minutes later Camille stood on a stairway platform high over the main printing room as the lights flickered on everywhere in the vast basement chamber. People were moving down on the floor, grabbing uncut sheets of racist Andrew Jackson twenty-dollar bills, waving them like flags. We will have to change the money after tonight – remove the tainted presidents and replace them with more fair and just figures that better represented the true history of the nation.
“Let’s smash it all!” called out Jamie, a lanky black student who held a crowbar in his hands as if it were a sword in the hand of an avenging angel.
“No!” she commanded from her stairway perch overlooking the print shop floor. “We will need it. No smashing! This is the people’s money. Take what you want, but leave the rest intact.” Her voice boomed downward and every eye fell on her. She knew then and there that she was in charge, even if just for the time being. We are going to need this all. Whoever controls the money, controls the people and the nation. After tonight, everything changes…
Blue Dawn is my first political thriller. There was some sort of weird ‘glitch’ with Amazon and the Kindle pre-orders today with Amazon nuking all of the pre-orders. It is now available on Kindle – for immediate download. My recommendation is to reorder it if you ordered it and Amazon cancelled your preorder. The paperback is also available right now.
I’m quite excited about this book for many reasons. First, it is timely – this takes place five years from now in an alternate history. Second, current events drive a great deal of the plot and setting for this story. Third, as a historian, the concept of a second American Civil War is both horrifying and fascinating. Fourth, I have been working on some parts of this novel for over six years and to see it reach a satisfying fruition is exciting. Fifth, this kicks off a setting for future novels to carry the storyline forward. I have mapped out a lot of wonderful stories and characters in this new universe.
The short version summary: It is fiction with hard ties to the real world…the core of any good political thriller.
I have been wanting to tell this kind of story…the impetus of a new American civil war, for a long time. Initially it was hard to articulate. As a published military historian, I find such conflicts compelling from a storytelling perspective. That does not mean I have a desire for such a war to start. After all, a new conflict would not look at all like the last civil war, where the dividing line was state borders. This will be far messier and more complex.
What plays out is more like the American Revolution in the south, where you have loyalists and colonists fighting each other in their own communities. People often gloss over that part of the America Revolution; when Americans faced off against each other over British control of the colonies. I found it to be a good model/concept for writing about a new civil war. In some cases state lines would factor in, but it could just as easy be a series of neighbor vs. neighbor, or rural vs. urban clashes.
Also, our culture is different, as is the kindling that would potentially kick off a conflict. The roles of Big Tech, social media, and the mainstream media in corrupting our thinking cannot be overlooked. We saw things this last year happen so fast that people could not wrap their heads around them – which was something I wanted to capture as well in the novel. I knew I couldn’t write this book until I personally had a firm grasp on how things might look, in an alternate-reality setting. Getting that right took time.
In the end, while many people say, “If things went down, I’d pick up my gun and defend this country,” the reality is that things can unfold so quickly that kind of reaction may not be practical.
Last summer, with the pandemic, the rioting and looting that took place, the civil and social unrest, the draconian influence of Big Tech (and the mainstream media,) the overreach of authority by government – the story finally started to come together. The year 2020 was providing me the perfect platform for the story. Forced isolation, thanks to the ‘spicy virus’ (as my nurse/daughter calls it) gave me the time I needed to crack open all of the old ideas I had and pull them into a cohesive set of stories and characters. I had almost three dozen pages of ideas and notes that would ultimately find its way into this book, or others that will follow on in future novels.
Another big driver for me to write this book was the entire cancel culture and woke movements. It is nothing less than digital mob violence and attempts to impose censorship with threats and intimidation; striking me as anti-American on many levels. One such ‘social justice warrior’ went so far as to threaten my life – before the book was even published! Suffice it to say, I felt highly motivated to ensure this book was published and I found the right publisher to do it with Defiance Press.
I finished the last draft of Blue Dawn just before the 2020 election. Strangely, some of the events that followed were already in the novel, to the point where I contacted my publisher to assure them that the attack on the Capitol was not some publicity stunt on my part. Let’s just say, there are ‘similarities,’ though the context and outcomes are quite different.
Blue Dawn has an ensemble and diverse cast of characters. I didn’t want to tell one story, but provide a lot of different perspectives of the overthrow of America and its recrafting to the progressive state of Newmerica. While elements of this setting are dystopian, I would say that they are less that and more ‘dark and gritty.’
This novel is less about the setting as it is the characters. These characters drive the story…hard and fast. These are some of my favorite characters that I have created in my career, especially two of the core female characters – Charli and Caylee. This is the story of individuals who are thrust into circumstances that are often far beyond their control. All of them must cope with the strains of living in a world that has been forcibly changed, regardless of their feelings. I think it is akin to what many readers may feel about the inflicted changes being forced on them in the real world right now as well.
This book is NOT for everyone. I will state up-front I’m a proud conservative and this book is a political thriller, so if you are not conservative, it probably isn’t going to be your fare. If you remotely think you might not like it, simply don’t buy it. That system has worked for centuries. I’m willing to bet that at least 47% of the country will find it captivating.
In the coming weeks, I’ll be writing a lot about the book in my blog, including some additional pieces of short fiction. Feel free to follow my blog if you want to keep up. There will be a book signing or two, and some other events, including next week’s Rally Against Censorship in Houston, Texas In the meantime, here’s a link to the Amazon description and cover…enjoy, and get ready. With this book, I’m giving you a glimpse of our nation from a new and frightening perspective.
I purchased this novel on an impulse. It is published by one of my publishers (Defiance Press) and since it was set in Detroit, a city I lived in the suburbs of and know all too well, I thought it might be interesting to read. Besides, I think authors should support their colleagues.
This is a story about a big corporation shutting down the power to a city and the riots that followed. It’s not that farfetched, especially when you consider Enron’s role in the rolling brownouts in California decades ago.
The novel has an ensemble cast, something I have become personally fond reading in recent years. It lets authors explore a situation from different character perspectives and James Mark does this masterfully. It is a mix of alternate history and political thriller, with a lot of military action in the later portion of the novel. In other words, there is something here for everyone.
What I particularly enjoyed was how it demonstrated how protests can and do get out of hand. The sections on the Michigan militia group were fascinating to read as well. The battle for Detroit was not just complex, but fascinating to read.
Mark has set this up perfectly for a sequel, which I sincerely hope that he is writing. His descriptions of Detroit show that he has first-hand experience with that locale. For me, it was easy to picture the streets, buildings, and intersections where he had artfully placed his characters. This novel has tales of strife, daring, a dash of terrorism, and a good old fashioned insurrection.
The twist in the last 3% of the book with the Middle East really caught me off guard. Well done! A solid five out of five stars. There’s still some time for some summer reading – so pick this one up.
I write true crime, I never thought I’d be writing about myself playing the role of a real-life victim.
For those of you that don’t know me, I write in a lot of different genres. One science fiction universe I write novels in is called BattleTech. While this factors into this story, it is not the key component.
What follows is a story about lies, deceit, catfishing, defamation of character, extreme leftist politics, threats against my life, and outright character assassination. It is a story about the cancel culture, censorship, and standing up for your rights.
I am posting this to clear the air about a few things a person has been saying about me. I think as readers of my work, you deserve the complete story. So far it has been a one-sided affair. You deserve the full truth. I have been silent on this matter far too long.
There have been a small but loud handful of people saying some fairly nasty things about me that are not true. Leading this charge was someone named Faith McClosky. It is important for you to know that Faith McClosky does not exist. “Faith” isn’t a lesbian female planning to adopt children in November. She’s not a nurse. She didn’t attend college in Tennessee. Her background on the net is a web of lies aimed at deceiving people. She isn’t a she. In reality, this is an account of a middle-aged man who I will refer to simply as J going forward.
He worked at big box retailer in a small Pennsylvania town who lives in his grandfather’s house. This person is a criminal who pleaded guilty to issuing Terroristic Threats with intent to terrorize another, and Harassment in a Pennsylvania court in 2020. He’s banned at his former place of employment. This is a matter of public record.
J has been misleading the BattleTech community for several years, pretending to be a young female fan, both as Faith McClosky and as Faith McCarron. Most recently, he has been hiding behind this fake identity to spread damaging lies and falsehoods about me and has made threats against my life, which I take seriously.
For months, this person has been personally contacting people and going on multiple online forums and sites spewing fabricated lies about me. This has been well documented by the authorities and thanks to fans who shared with me some of the hate that he has generated. I have remained quiet on these matters to allow law enforcement and my legal team to do their jobs. That time has come to an end.
If you believed anything this person posted, remember this, the person you have been reading posts from doesn’t exist. He has distorted reality about me to fit a woke agenda of censorship and pushing the cancel culture. Consider this: If this person lied about who they are, in a very welcoming and diverse fan community, how can you believe anything this person posted regarding me?
Let’s go back to the start of this. The reality is that this person has been relentlessly following me online for almost two years. I gave up trying to reason with ‘her’ and blocked this person on Twitter and eventually Facebook. “Faith” became upset at one of my social media posts and, along with another conspirator, contacted Catalyst Game Labs, and attempted to get my books pulled and have me removed from the lineup as an author. They made outrageous accusations about me, which Catalyst refuted in detail. Catalyst even reviewed a year’s worth of my social media to validate that I had not crossed any of the lines that “Faith” claimed I had.
I blocked this individual and several others during this period because I refuse to let them use my social media platforms to post their hate about me. Keep in mind, at any point, J and his minions could have simply stopped following me.
When my new political thriller novel Blue Dawn was announced “Faith” contacted a fellow author on 26 March 2021 and sent the following:
“I want to fucking shoot him in the fucking crotch for this shit.”
And: “I’m sorry. I want him to die in a fire.”
“Faith” claimed: “It’s a condemnation of everything I believe in. It’s a condemnation of my family and my livelihood.”
When asked “In what way?” this was the response: “In what way? I am a lesbian. I am a lesbian who is welcoming a child into this world. This backing of a radical conservative viewpoint is a repudiation of my entire existence.” All of this was thankfully forwarded to me.
Keep in mind, this book was not in print at this time. In other words, this person was, in their head, creating plots and theories about the story without having read it!
Yes, representatives of the woke/cancel culture attempted to not only erase me, and having failed that, threatened my life.
Blue Dawn is a novel published by Defiance Press that I proudly authored. It is about the violent progressive overthrow of the government and the men and women that rise up and fight against it. It covers the start of a second American Civil War set five years from now. It is a piece of alternate history. It is a solid action novel, a political thriller, aimed at conservative readers, one written to get you to question the values of both sides of such a conflict. Much of the book is based on real-world events and people. It will spark discussion and debate when it is fully released at the end of July. Good fiction can do that. Good fiction should do that. There is a vast difference between discourse and threats/defamation.
I evaluated this threat with a professional in the field and contacted law enforcement. My wife and I drilled as to what to do if ‘Faith’ ever appeared at our house. For the first time in my life, I kept guns loaded and ready at egress points. This generated considerable stress and angst, as well as loss productivity in our household. Despite these and other security measures, my wife and I still feel threatened.
This person continued to barrage my blog and send emails all of an inflammatory nature. I was accused of being many things, and of having many views that I simply do not have, never considered, or are completely contrary to my beliefs. I did not reply to any of these. This person claimed there were hidden messages in my novels espousing views he/she didn’t agree with. I will not go into these specific and horrific accusations because to do so would only give them a hint of legitimacy. Many are outright ludicrous, the product of hate. Besides, I don’t have anything to prove or disprove…I’m the victim of this story.
Law enforcement attempted to locate “Faith” but her identity online did not match reality. Eventually they derived the person’s true identity, which was validated by several means. This took months. In the meantime, I was sent threatening videos, and experienced additional threats from this person on social media and via email. I also learned their history of legal troubles, both civil and criminal.
In response to multiple threats, I retained a top-notch legal team and secured a temporary PPO, Virginia’s equivalent of a restraining order. A cease and desist letter was served to J demanding him to remove his inflammatory online comments and a specific lengthy blog post that was filled with lies and distorted mistruths about me. Other legal actions were prepared as well.
This person has been making outlandish and unsupported claims about me that were designed to harm my livelihood. It was a full-fledged campaign. This person attempted to purge me from BattleTech as an author, trying to force CGL to break legal contracts. This person issued threats, veiled and direct, against me. This person sent threatening videos to me, apparently to attempt to intimidate me. This person lied about their true identity. This person sent inflammatory comments to my publisher Defiance Press. He posted nasty reviews of my work. This individual went on Facebook and other forums and attempted to incite fans against me, to the point of getting temporary suspensions. He contacted podcasters and demanded they take down their episodes with me in them and no longer have me as a guest. He sparred with the fans of the franchise and professional colleagues who supported me, attempting to intimidate them. This individual sullied my name and reputation.
J, and the people that encouraged him, haven’t helped the BattleTech community at all. What they have done has been unhealthy to the fan base. In fairness, they were following a criminal who misled them. Sadly, I am sure some of them will continue to carry that banner. To them, I say: While most of you thought you were flirting with some 20 year old pretty professional female; you were duped and misled from the very beginning. Welcome to the BattleTech episode of Catfish; I’m Blaine Pardoe filling in for Nev.
It’s tempting to speculate as to his motives but I won’t. His motivations driving this bizarre behavior are merely window dressing for the accusations and threats themselves. What I can say with assurance is that this was the cancel culture at its worst. J, and those misled by him, were upset over a book that none of them have even read.
As a result of all of this, I now have a Permanent Protective Order in place with this individual banning them from direct or indirect contact with me. Under advice of counsel, cannot comment on other aspects of this matter nor on what law enforcement is currently doing regarding this case. I have done what is necessary to protect my wife, my dog, my home, and my life. I have a legitimate fear for our safety confirmed by experts in the field, a judge, and law enforcement. I took these actions not just for myself, but to protect fans as well, those that might be at an event or book signing where I appear in public.
Both of my current publishers, Catalyst Game Labs and Defiance Press have been supportive during this ordeal. I endeavored to keep both of them apprised as events unfolded. I will not speak to what actions they may take as a result of these matters and revelations.
To be clear, everything I have done has been done in reaction to the multiple threats and defaming comments made against me. I feel horrible that this person instigated this entire affair and has pulled in others with his deception. I hope that his actions won’t deter real women from writing for BattleTech. I also hope this does not taint anyone’s opinions of the LGBTQ+ community. It is sad that J chose to drag their cause into his hate-filled dialogue. I have close family members in that community who were stunned about this misrepresentation of their constituency. I am not sure where he got the photos of the female that J pretended to be, but I am sure she would be shocked that someone was misusing her image in this manner.
Why respond at all? Simply put, some of you attributed my silence as an admission of guilt – it was not. Legal actions take time to play out. To those who opt to continue with these kinds of online attacks, I want to be very clear – I will take the necessary legal actions to protect my reputation and these can be costly and time consuming for you. I suggest you all use this opportunity to ratchet down your politically motivated venom. You’ve had your ‘fun,” at my expense so far, but know that going forward you are playing adult games with adult prizes.
Some “fans” have posted that I shouldn’t be allowed to write a book like Blue Dawn…that I am the root cause of this. Let me be clear. No one deserves to be threatened and harassed at the level I and my family have been simply because someone disagrees with their political ideology. None of you get to determine what I can or cannot write. That is censorship. You do not get to choose what genre’s I opt to choose to practice my craft in. I have worked hard in my career to be in a position to write whatever I want, whenever I desire. The fact that you might think you get a voice in what I do stands against the freedoms I both possess and cherish.
I invite you to share this link with your fellow fans, I don’t want to violate any rules regarding posting politics on social media forums. I encourage you to share it with your friends as well. I believe that this is a tale well worth sharing.
Finally, this was never about fictional characters or fanciful high-tech plots; this is about silencing an author because of their politics, plain and simple. While I feel physically threatened, I will not concede my values. I will not be broken by self-appointed social justice warriors. I have taken my stand, drawn my line in the proverbial sand. I would hope that you would be respectful as my wife and I adapt to this and process much of what has unfolded. If you are facing these same pressures, I hope that this post helps you, even in some small way. I further would hope that, with these revelations, this matter can be put to rest
I’m pleased to announce that Blue Dawn, my upcoming political thriller set five years from now, is available for presale in Kindle (ebook) format from Amazon.com.
The book will be available in printed form as well…it is in layout right now. It all drops for the public on 27 July.
This book is one I have been wanting to write for a while. I finished it just prior to the election last year and was surprised at some of the things I wrote about unfolding in real-life, albeit with some real differences. This is a book that I think many conservative readers are going to want to pick up and read. Think of this as alternate history with a twist or two you never anticipated.
It takes place five years after the violent overthrow of the US government by progressives and radical extremists. America is gone. A quasi-socialist nation named Newmerica sits atop the rubble of the old United States. The winners call it ‘The Liberation,’ while those impacted by its harsher results refer to it as ‘The Fall.’ Being conservative means you are often shipped off to Social Quarantine camps – under the auspices that it is for your own safety. Almost every edifice of the old nation has been destroyed, as evidenced on the cover of the book.
As it turns out, you can destroy monuments…you can’t crush the American spirit. That doesn’t mean people won’t try.
It is the story of a number of people, drawn together, who realize the opportunity to restore what was ripped from them. Those in power are unwilling to let things go back to the way they were, and are willing to do anything to hold onto the reins of the nation. The ensemble group of characters each comes at this conflict from a different perspective – giving the reader a wonderful glimpse into the darker elements of the Newmerica society.
It is a political thriller – with ties to the world we live in right now. There are James Bond-ish elements to the story, as well as moments designed to tug at your patriotic heartstrings. I really like the characters of this story, they carry it – individually and collectively. The ties to the real world are chillingly close. I have always believed that good fiction should spark discussion, and Blue Dawn presents that.
I will be posting some new fiction set in this universe as well as some interesting blog posts on how this story came to be. Welcome to Newmerica – where fear trumps freedom and where demonstrating patriotism is a criminal act.