Some of the Things in the Blue Dawn Series that Have Turned Out True

Blue Dawn is the first book in a series by the same name. It’s about a violent progressive overthrow of the government and the second American civil war to take the country back five years later.  Blue Dawn was written (first draft) two years before the 2020 election. While a work of alternate history, there are a lot of things in the series that I have written about that have or are about to come to pass.  I don’t claim to be clairvoyant. What I do claim is that the radical progressive movement is relatively easy to predict. 

I saw one reviewer say that I merely flipped the events of January 6th in terms of the players. That is incorrect.  I wrote this book before January 6th. I was just ahead of the curve.

Granted, some things I have in the books have not come to pass yet, such as Social Quarantine Camps or the mass roundup of all firearms, or outright civil war, but there are overtones of coming tensions out there, we’ve all felt them.  Let’s hope that the rest of what is in the series, doesn’t come to pass.  Here are a few of the things I called out that are true.

The Truth Reconciliation Committee (TRC).  In Newmerica (the rebranded United States) censorship is done by the Truth Reconciliation Committee, a government censorship bureau that works with Big Tech to control the narratives and smother opposing viewpoints.  President Biden proposed a “Misinformation Governance Board,” to do exactly that.  If you read the series, you see just how insidious the TRC is, mostly by their slogans at the start of each chapter. 

The Systematic Removal or Renaming of Confederate or Other Undesirable Entities.  In Blue Dawn, the banned statues, including Washington, Lincoln, Jefferson, Roosevelt, and a myriad of Confederates and all parked in The Graveyard – left to rot. While that hasn’t happened, we have seen mobs and even governments taking down and destroying statues. The renaming and rebranding of streets, military bases, etc is happening daily. 

One Political Party Completely Demonizing the Other. You want to believe deep down that things like this couldn’t happen in the US, but they do. With President Biden declaring that MAGA Republicans and the MAGA movement are existential threats to democracy, he has done something that only Hillary Clinton did – target the supporters of a political candidate. In my novels, nothing good comes from this; and I’m fairly certain this isn’t going to play out well in real life either.

“Can I get a Sieg Heil from the audience? Aw, come on man…”

The Weaponization of the Federal Government.  Our current AG went so far as to direct the DoJ to investigate parents protesting at school boards as domestic terrorists.  I will grant you, in the books, I go much farther with the government’s abuse of power, but the seeds for that are in place right now. At the core of the series is that the federal government becomes a tool of oppression.  It sure feels that way during tax season.

Government Involvement in Medical Care.  While the Tribunals are not in place just yet in America, the government is now attempting to set up boards to control pricing and access to drugs. The current American President pushes for more government control of health care, as if that is a solution.

The Deep State (the Military) Turning On the President.  In the opening scenes of Blue Dawn, we have the military refusing orders of their Commander in Chief.  When the book first came out, people scoffed at that. Then we learned General Milley said he would reach out to China if the President were to order an attack. In the Blue Dawn series the military operates independent from the civilian government – which isn’t such a stretch of the imagination.

Reparations and Social Credit. In the series, Reparations and Social Credit manipulation are ingrained in the citizens in the Blue Dawn series. They are given points for disparity, turning in their neighbors, etc., which can be cashed in. China has already started a Social Credit rewards (and punishment) system.  California is exploring Reparations. 

The Ruining of the Economy.  Throughout the series the characters are exposed to an economy that is in the toilet, ruined to meet the Administration’s goals.  We see this happening right now with layoffs, runaway gas prices, etc., all to meet green goals, etc. 

Using “Incidents” as a Justification to Crack Down on Citizens.  In A Most Uncivil War, a false flag attack is executed, a bomb at the US Capitol. This allows the government to start rounding up suspected dissenters. We see this right now with “MAGA Republicans” being painted as threats to democracy.  

Mount Rushmore Targeted.  USA Today ran an editorial calling for the destruction of the Mt. Rushmore memorial in 2020 – after the release of Blue Dawn.  As you can see on the cover of the book, the Newmerican regime has been successful in fulfilling that twisted dream. 

The Criminalization of Anything Patriotic.  In the last three years there has been a twisting of our society to paint people who are patriotic as domestic terrorists.  In the Blue Dawn series, the flag is gone, the National Anthem is changed, even the currency is altered to fit a political agenda.   

Big Tech Being an Extension of the Left to Censor Americans.  Two words – Twitter Files. Thanks to Elon Musk, we now know that our government and official conspired with Big Tech to censor the American people. I called this in Blue Dawn. One of my favorite parts of the book is when the characters strike back, and blow up the Big Tech headquarters.  

Changes to the Constitution to Fit the Agenda.  In the series, there are calls to throw out the Constitution and have a new Constitutional Convention. We see hints of this already with the cries to pack the Supreme Court, or to limit the terms of the Justices when the Progressives don’t get their way. 

The Persecution of Conservative College Students.  In A Most Uncivil War and Confederacy of Fear, readers are exposed to the violence and intimidation of college students.  I based this on actual conversations with college students, and merely amplified it in the series.  This is happening right now.  

Tiny Homes For the Homeless.  I called this in the series, in California, and it is an abysmal failure. The problems of many homeless people is not that they lack a roof over their heads, but that they are suffering from a number of other issues such as drug addiction or mental problems.  So what happened a few weeks ago?  Gavin Newscom wants to do exactly what I called out in the series in California.  I appreciate him reading the book, but I think he shouldn’t just cull it for bad ideas. 

Renaming the Homeless.  The left loves renaming homeless people, as if changing the name solves some problem.  I heard on a Washington DC news radio program the use of the phrase, Living Disenfranchised.  It was VERY close to one of the names I used in the series. In the Confederacy of Fear series I refer to them as Housing Disenfranchised, Economically Displaced, Permanent Resident Estranged, and a few other nicknames.  Is it hard to believe that progressives would adopt such names in the near future?

The Opening of the Southern Border. When I wrote Blue Dawn in 2019, it was hard to picture the crisis at our southern border, especially that it was caused by the government.  Yet here we are.  Raul Lopez’s (one of the key characters) migrated over the open southern border.

The Progressives Turn on Themselves. One of the underlying tales in the series is that eventually the progressive liberals turn on each other.  Anyone even hinting at breaking the faith is a target.  Does that happen now?  Two words, Joe Manchin. Have you observed how members of his own party turned on him? 

I’m not saying I’m channeling any special powers here to predict this stuff. Frankly, just watching CNN during my workouts the gym gives me a fairly decent roadmap to bad behavior by the left. They are far from secretive in what they intend to do. I merely observe, amplify, and weave stories around their ideas. The fact that I’m as accurate as I am should be chilling all on its own. 

Now That Storm Surge is Out…

Don’t just stand there – run!

Warning – this is spoiler territory. If you haven’t read the trilogy, you should probably stop here.    

Wow, what a weight off my shoulders.  The kickoff trilogy for LAND&SEA is out and based on the sales and feedback, people love the concept. I’m relieved for a number of different reasons.  First, you never know for sure how people will react to a new series. Second, I wasn’t entirely sure how I would be received now that I have been forced out of BattleTech.  I’m pleased to say that the first three novels are still on a number of Amazon bestseller lists.

Writing for your own universe, where you get to set direction, is far more rewarding than writing for a 39 year old franchise.  It’s great to own the sandbox and all of the toys.  I was very fortunate to be able bring Brent Evans’s ideas to reality. It was and remains a team effort.  

With LAND&SEA, we are reaching a much larger community of gamers and readers than the former franchise I wrote for. 

The characters, which drive LAND&SEA are unique and fun. My personal favorites are, in order: Adam Cain, Natalia Falto, CC, Antonio Colton, and Reid Porter.  Don’t get me wrong – I love Dana’s character (and Fizz) and the others too.  I’m just picking my favorites.

Cain I like because he is a seasoned vet, the kind of person in every branch of the military who is old because he’s too stubborn and smart to die. It was with a great sense of irony that it is Cain that saves the Pentagon, the very bastion that has made his life what it is. Think about Top Gun: Maverick and the character that Tom Cruise plays – a full blown graybeard warrior. Like Maverick, Cain doesn’t apologize, he has little use for most superiors, and, like so many people – just wants to do what he’s really good it.  I identify with him because despite all of the stuff I have been through, I refuse to bend the knee to the cancel culture crowd, and I just want to do what I like to do – tell great stories.

Falto – wow, could I have put a character through more than I did with her?  I don’t think so. Falto is the world’s most bad-ass Marine. Not because she’s a killing machine (she is), but because she refuses to give up. Falto pushes herself mentally and physically way past the point where normal people could – and prevails. Everyone expects a Marine to be stacking bodies. Falto has to fight tests of her faith and resolve, a far more complicated battle to wage. She survives, and that makes her awesome.   

CC is neat. Some of her is Carl from The Walking Dead; she’s a young person that grows up far too fast because of the war. Think of it this way: What would happen if you took a kid and stripped them of everything in life – family, a home, friends, their tech?  Some would melt – but some would be like CC.  She defines badassery.  There is no going back for her, being in the militia is her life. The invasion has made her ruthless and cold. I love that she has found a (unique) home and a father-figure.

Antonio has a redemption arc in the series.  He went from a badly injured, PTSD suffering, drug dealer to resolving all of that to rise and becoming a heroic leader of a militia unit.  In LAND&SEA, the militia units are colorful and neat – like mercs in BattleTech – only better.  At some point, I will explain that sentence, but today it’s all about the characters.  Antonio comes full circle in this saga and even becomes a father of sorts to CC. 

Reid Porter. We all have a bit of Reid Porter in us. He spends a lot of the series questioning if he’s the hero everyone claims he is. As it turns out, he becomes the very heroic character everyone else sees.  He claims that it was Falto that made him that way, but in reality, Porter was always that person, he just didn’t know it. As with all of us in the real world, circumstance and self-perception defines who we are in many ways. Porter personifies this. 

A few other notes, just for grins.  Kent Warner’s character was based on my high school friend, Mark Hartford.  Mark went on in life to be an aerospace engineer.  I simply amplified that into a neat character.

Titus Hill was inspired by my lifelong friend, Martin Newhard. Martin was a submariner and helped me with some of the USS Virginia parts of Splashdown.  Strangely enough, my hometown high school (Harper Creek) contributed to my novels decades after I attended there.  Another nugget you may have caught; the stealing of the windjammer in Riptides was an homage to Count Felix von Luckner, who I wrote a biography of – Cruise of the Sea Eagle

Here’s another little Easter Egg. If you look at the full cover art for each novel, one of the aliens is visible on the back cover.

Dana’s arc was a lot of fun to write. She is a simple character with a complex life who is worried about her looks and ratings right up to the end. Dana remains true to herself, which is actually something admirable – even if you don’t like her unique traits.

Ashton Slade is, in some respects, based on me.  As such, I’m not going to go into too much detail. Suffice it to say that in my career, I worked for the DoD and a number of other three letter agencies in the FedGov. 

So What is Next?

April 20, book four, Flotsam of War releases. It is an anthology of stories, written by yours truly, set during the trilogy and beyond. If you know me, you know there are some Easter Eggs in this series, little references that Flotsam gets to blow out into bigger stories. We came up with a very cool idea for the cover for this one. 

Next up is Ratchet’s Run. It is a standalone novel that was inspired by Kelly’s Heroes.  The books is done and edited – so it is coming soon as well. 

Later this year is book six, thus far untitled. The idea for this one is fleshed out, I just need to write it.  Be prepared to see the Space Force for the first time and the British Royal Marines.  Yes, that’s right, a minimum of six books in the series in year one! Only a handful of writers I know attempt this, and many of them are my friends and continue to inspire me

There may be a surprise project that pops this year – we are still working on it. I may contribute to this one but it will likely be an outside writer.  We are hoping that a number of outside writers want to contribute in the universe in the coming years.

That will wrap season one.  It’s our intent to kick off each season with a new trilogy.  I have mapped out the characters and general story for this already.  Like the first trilogy, this will be an ensemble cast, all new characters.  It will advance the war for another six months or so.

Glorious Pulp!

The Man of Bronze

When I was in high school, a friend of mine, Scott English, introduced me to the series of books on Doc Savage.  Savage was a 1930’s hero, a magnificent human specimen and genius, who, along with is five colleagues, solved mysteries and administered justice. This were not Scooby Doo mysteries, they were often threats to world power.  The books were always suspenseful, and had enough real world elements to them to hint at authenticity. His “Fabulous Five” comrades included a lawyer, a chemist, an electrical engineer, a construction engineer, and an archeologist. Doc was brilliant on his own, but it was the combined efforts of the group that made for interesting reading. This was the hero team concept before comic books picked up on it.  

Of course this led me to start reading The Avenger and The Shadow…so called pulp heroes from the same era.  The Avenger could mold his face like clay, giving him the ability to assume disguises.  His marksmanship was incredible and terrifying.  The Shadow had a hypnotic effect that could blur men’s minds so that he was all but invisible. The Shadow’s tag line from his radio show was one of the best: “Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows!”

Many shows made the transition to radio and were incredibly popular. Others were serials on the silver screen too, like Buck Rogers, though they did not hold up to the test of time well.

In my youth, pulp was addictive. Why? Because there was a sense of characters that were right and wrong. Many times it wasn’t brute force that resolved the situation, but instead it was cunning, science, or good old fashioned detective work. The villains often were not Lex Luthor level characters, but devious businessmen or politicians.  It also helped that the stories, even novelized, were short. 

Many tend to write off pulp fiction as fluff—low brow fiction. There are instances where it can come across as formulaic. Many of the stories were written in serialized form in cheap magazines which helped fuel that belief.  While many claim that the noir-ish stories are dated, I recently reread some of the Doc Savage in my library and discovered they stand the test of time. 

The Great Depression was the death knell to many of the pulp magazines there was a resurgence in the 1970’s and 80’s when many of these stories were rebooted and brought back as paperbacks and comics. There was a Doc Savage movie but it never quite hit the mark for what was needed to pay homage to the original stories. Alec Baldwin starred in the movie version of The Shadow, but that too was not a stunning success.  In this age of constant remakes, I’m shocked that Hollywood has not tapped pulp characters and stories. Then again, given how Hollywood corrupts good content, this might be a blessing in disguise.

Personally, I have found pulp to be great fiction for role playing game fans. A great deal of gaming is not high fantasy adventure.  Most gaming groups play more pulp-style adventures.  Many of the pulp stories such as Conan and Solomon Kane were inspirational to designers of RPG’s in the early years.  The influence of pulp fiction on gaming is as strong as ever. If you are playing RPG’s, regardless of the genre, it might behoove you to take a look at pulp era.  Pulp is starting to have a comeback as many indie writers embrace it as medium for their craft. This is encouraging and exciting. I’ve read fantasy stories that have a noir feeling, which I think gives pulp fantasy a nod of respect. Pulp didn’t wither up and die, it simply took on new forms. Going back to the source material is a good investment of your reading time.

LAND&SEA ™ Storm Surge Releases  – Riptides Audiobook is Available – and New Merch is Available!

It’s great to see both books next to each other on the Amazon bestseller list.

It’s a big day in both on the land and in the seas!  Storm Surge, book three of LAND&SEA ™ is available in Kindle, paperback and hardcover formats today. This book completes the kickoff trilogy for the series. If that wasn’t enough, Riptides Audiobook also released this morning for those of you who have been chomping at the bit for that.

If that isn’t enough, shirts and hoodies are available for LAND&SEA ™

It is tempting to talk about what is in Storm Surge, but I don’t want to spoil it. Instead I will sit back and let the fans enjoy it. 

Storm Surge Hits the Shores on March 16

This is a placeholder (rough draft) of the artwork for the cover. The final art will be just as awesome as the first two books!

The third book in the LAND&SEA ™ series, Storm Surge, drops on March 16.  This wraps up the kickoff trilogy, though rest assured some of these characters will appear in other books.  We designed this trilogy to be a way for people new to the universe with the means to easily engage.

We’re all highly pleased with the sales and the feedback. The first two novels are still on Amazon numerous bestseller lists.  The ratings are very high as well. Seriously, Riptides has 98% rating the novel a 4 or 5. 

I won’t tread into spoiler territory, but will address a few things. As you can see from the rough draft of the cover, the war is going underwater. Come on, the series IS called LAND&SEA.  You sort of expected that, didn’t you? 

Star Trek has always been an inspiration for me. While I didn’t enjoy Star Trek Insurrection as a film, I did love Riker’s line while in the briar patch:  “We’re through running from these bastards.” That more or less captures the essence of Storm Surge.  Mankind has been playing defense in this war.  Now the time has come to roll high on initiative and take the fight to the Fish.

This is a big novel – 20k larger than Riptides. There will be new ASHUR’s and the Trident (underwater) rigs and the results of Project Gorgon. There are new aliens, new weapons, and a whole lot more carnage. 

This novel will wrap up the storylines for these characters, at least for the near term. You will get some closure.  Sometimes that closure is final. My editor said that the last few chapters made her cry, so there you go. 

The next book, Flotsam of War, is an anthology of short stories from the universe.  This will be followed by Ratchet’s Run – a stand-alone novel with some interesting twists and turns for a military sci-fi book.  Book six will be late this year (yes, six novels in one year!) There is always the chance we will pop out something unexpected later this year as well, you never know.  That will wrap season one.  Season two will kick off with a whole new trilogy next year, very much on the scale of these first novels. 

I am anticipating the Riptides audiobook sometime between now and the 16th.  Let me assure you, asking me for updates will not make it happen any faster.  I wish I possessed that level of omnipotent power, but alas, I do not. Work on the tabletop game continues – I actually played a few rounds this weekend. I know a lot of you are clamoring to take part in the playtest.  We are a long way from that happening and right now, we are not keeping a list.  I suggest you follow this blog for information on that when it releases.    

LAND&SEA and the Language Evolution

The hardcover for Riptides arrived today!

Now that Riptides is out, I thought I’d take a moment to talk about some of the subtle changes to language that I employed in the LAND&SEA ™ series.  The impetus for this was that I received a few messages from people that our narrator, Noah, was mispronouncing LA as La in the audiobook for Splashdown.  I wanted to be clear with fans, it wasn’t a mistake.

Language evolves constantly.  Trying to capture that can be tricky. You don’t want to overwhelm readers with too many new things, but you do want some subtle reminders that this is a series written 20 years in the future.  Things are bound to be different. 

A few years ago when I was writing Splashdown, I heard an interview on the TV in the background.  I didn’t know who it was who was being interviewed, but they referred to Los Angeles not as LA, but as “La” and “La-Land.” I’m fairly sure the interviewee was drunk, high, or both – but that really didn’t matter. That clicked with me as something that would lead to an evolution of the language.  While many characters still refer to Los Angeles as LA, there would be some that would go for the slang version of La. 

I also avoid the word “Google” in terms of searching the net.  Instead the word used in the LAND&SEA ™ universe is Boink, as in, “I Boinked him on the net and only got three hits.” To be honest, I never see Bing catching on…ever.  Boink just seemed like a fun phrase as mindless as Google which would serve as the replacement. 

So there you have it – a simple little behind the scenes glimpse into the process. 

LAND&SEA The Nose Art

Blaine here, transmitting from a special balloon monitoring station outside of Washington DC.  This is a little weird, a writer discussing art – but in LAND&SEA ™, the two intersect quite a bit. Going back to my days in BattleTech; I’m talking the good old days of the 80’s, icons for the mercenary units were critical parts of their identity. Visuals are important, for fiction and gaming.

When I started writing the LAND&SEA series I wanted to capture some of that vibe with nose art and logos for each class of the rig. As a military aviation historian, I spend a lot of time in aviation museums and the art I have seen on aircraft makes the planes more interesting.  Nose art from WWII on bombers and fighters was a way for the pilot to personalize their ride. I thought that this would be important for readers, fans, and eventually game players to connect with individual ASHURs and their pilots. 

WWII nose art is risqué at times, pushing the envelope by some standards. Some can be relatively tame.  My thinking is that if it was good enough for the Greatest Generation, it is probably good enough for those of us living in a wardrobe malfunction world. 

We wanted every pilot to be able to imprint their own style on their rig.  In the case of Splashdown’s USMC Staff Sergeant Rickenburg, (callsign Hannibal) he named his Lion class rig, “Devil Dog,” the nickname of the Marines from the WWI battle of Belleau Wood. 

In the upcoming Riptides (releasing 16 February) Master Sergeant Adam Cain’s (callsign Brass Balls) Rhino class rig bears some art he had commissioned in honor of his wife; Jumpin’ Jules. 

Brent hired an outstanding female artist who specializes in this kind of art.  As developers we always overthink things but in this case, the creative exercise was really interesting.  How risqué Adam Cain would want her to be given his love for his wife? The image had to be a matter of pride for him. At the same time we wanted to infuse this with the kind of historic nose art which so many people enjoy.

We also have icon artwork for each rig.

Hey, the WarGate guys have the mug with Jumpin’ Jules on it available for sale. 

In two days, Riptides becomes a reality. 

A Quick Round of Updates

A little sneak peak of the Rhino Class ASHUR rig…

Welcome to a writer’s life. 

Blue Dawn Stuff

Today I finished book five of the Blue Dawn series – Patrons of Fear.  First draft is at 125,000 words – so it is hefty and fun. I wrapped up some character arcs and storylines – which was great.  Now begins the real work, rewriting and editing. 

Book four of the series, No Greater Tyranny, is with the publisher. 

People have been asking when the audiobook for Confederacy of Fear will be out.  It is done and I have reviewed it, so now we are trapped in the waiting game for Audible to put it up.  Confederacy is doing fantastic all on its own in terms of sales, though I have to admit, launching two books in two weeks is overwhelming – and awesome.

I have some book tour events/interviews lined up thanks to my publicist. I don’t mind doing interviews about my writing or current events.  A big part of being an author is the promotional work you have to do.


That brings me to Land&Sea.  Book five of that series is done and being reviewed by the Creative Juggernaut team before I start the editing.  I have eight working titles on it – so clearly I haven’t settled on one just yet. 

 Book one of the series, Splashdown, continues to score high on bestseller lists on Amazon and has nearly 100 reviews, with 96% of those being four and five star.  I am really happy people are enjoying it.  Riptides, book two, drops on February 16.  The audiobook for this should (fingers crossed) be ready the day of launch too.  Then, in March, comes Storm Surge

From time-to-time I send copies of my books to military units or personnel.  I know how folks on deployment share these things.  With Splashdown, I wanted to get a copy to the Marine Corps unit that I have stationed on Guam in the book – and to the Captain of the USS Virginia. The Marine Corps was great – one call, “Here’s your address, sir.”

The Navy – not so much.  They have a web site for the ship, so I used the mailing address they had, but the Post Office said, and I quote here, “You are missing four digits at the end of the FPO line.” I tried to explain to them that was what the Navy had on their web site – but trying to use logic and common sense with the post office is often more frustrating than it was worth.  Sidebar: I am willing to bet that the Post Office is wrong about this, but I can’t prove that at this stage.

So, I called the Atlantic Fleet, where the Virginia is currently assigned. I was routed around (twice) and got a voicemail box that was full. I live outside of DC, so I called the Department of the Navy.  Surely they would know.  Well, it took three calls, one of which I was on hold for 45 minutes.  Finally the very nice lady told me that, “The Navy cannot release the mailing address of a ship due to security concerns.” 

“Well, it’s on their web site. I’m not sure why they won’t just give me the correct one since they put it on the web.” 

“What can I say, this is the Navy.” 

I called Gloucester where the squadron is based and got a great officer who said he was going on vacation, but it is getting me the address when he gets back. 

The moral of this story is that if the Navy can’t handle mailing addresses, I’m a little concerned if we have to go to war.  I guess no good deed goes unpunished.  I WILL get this book out to the captain of that boat. 

In other news quasi-tied to Land&Sea, the Marine Corps just announced they were going to open a base on Guam.  Marines Reopen Base on Guam as Part of a Shift from Okinawa |  Prophetic or just a lucky guess on my part? 


Riptides release is coming up fast.  I love this book because of three characters – two in particular.  My absolute favorite is Adam Cain. His Rhino Class rig is on the cover. Cain is a whole lot of fun for me. He’s older (as am I) and has been there and done that.  The graybeards are often the most interesting characters you encounter coming out of the military.  They have seen some shit.  Cain has some issues, but when the chips are down, this is the guy you want to have fighting beside you. 

Cassidy Chen (CC) is a neat character in her own right. Riptides is where her arc really takes off.  War has a way of shaping people, violently.  I’ll leave it at that. 

What’s Next

I have been asked to contribute a Mecha-centric book in a very popular military sci fi series.  I have the outline sketched out – and starting this week, it will get written. 

Then comes book six of the Land&Sea series. The plot is done.  It is neat and takes the action away from the United States which should be interesting. 

Then comes Season Two of Land&Sea.  We’ve been toying with doing a trilogy each year that will advance the overall universe plotline. I have an outline done, characters profiled – it’s a matter of mapping out the storylines. 

We are hoping some other authors will be joining us on this journey too, so that will eat some of my time up as well.  Brent is working with Jason at WarGate on some new merch – which should be cool.  Needless to say, I will be busy for the next few years. 

Finally, my daughter wants to us back into true crime – so I need to dust off my notes on the case files for our next venture into that genre.

Confederacy of Fear – Book Three of the Blue Dawn Series – Releases Today

Out now in Kindle and paperback. The audiobook is coming soon!

I am pleased to announce that Confederacy of Fear has released.  Published by Defiance Press, this book is the third of the Blue Dawn series.  This carries the story forward from the end of A Most Uncivil War.

For me, this series holds a special place in my heart.  It’s not the details of the universe like Social Quarantine Camps, Reparation Points, the rewriting of American History, the corruption of our icons, the use of Social Enforcers, or the imposition of a Truth Reconciliation Committee. Those are merely window dressing, bits and pieces of a tapestry of a twisted and changed America. I based these bits of backdrop on real world policies, suggestions, or attempts on the part of politicians.   

What makes the stories so exciting for me is the characters.  You can’t tell good stories without remarkable characters.  This series has a lot of them.  Caylee, the former operative of the NSF.  Raul, a young man caught in a whirlwind of defiant uprising, a prisoner of his own success.  Charli, head of the Secret Service with her own dark past. Andy, a man forced into being a freedom fighter.  Jack, the President’s Chief of Staff and the leader of the Sons of Liberty – a man that never let the fires of liberty die. General Trip Reager, a man that lost everything to the progressives, who is now charged with fighting a second American civil war. Deja Jordan, a Social Enforcer, now the darling of the Newmerican government for her capture of Raul.

Into this mix two new characters emerge – Su-Hui Zhou, a refugee from fallen Taiwan. General James Donaldson, a man that betrayed his former commander in chief who is in command of stomping out the Americans. 

This is a book where political thriller meets contemporary military fiction.  For me, this is where I like to play as a writer.  This is a nation divided, with passions on both sides of the political spectrum.  Readers will pick up where they left off.  Raul has been captured and sent to the Supermax prison in Colorado.  Caylee, Charli, Andy, and others are hell-bent on getting him out of there, setting the stage for some real fun and exciting tales.  Meanwhile war erupts in Georgia and New Hampshire as the Newmerican government refuses to accept the election results.  Fans of the series – buckle up, it’s going to be a wild ride.  Slap, rack and roll – there’s a war on. The audiobook for Confederacy should be coming any time now.  Let your friends know if you like the series.  Book four, No Greater Tyranny, is at the publisher right now and I am on the verge of finishing book five, Patrons of Terror.

Bonus Fiction for Confederacy of Fear – From the Blue Dawn Series – One Island Alone

Coming next week – 24 January

Confederacy of Fear releases on the 24th of January. As with all of the Blue Dawn series, I introduce some new characters. One of my favorites is Su-Hui Zhou. He and his family are refugees from Taiwan. While I discuss this in the novel, I thought it might be good to actually provide the scene of his departure and what led to the fall of Taiwan in that universe. This story doesn’t have any spoilers – it simply fills a neat gap in a character background.

Is this feasible or realistic? Everyone is bound to have their own opinion. 

So, to set you up for Confederacy of Fear allow me to present, One Island Alone. 

Hualien County, Taiwan, Republic of China

Su-Hui hustled his family down the crowded streets. It was as if the entire city…no, the entire country, was rushing to the western side of the island in the last few hours.  He understood the panic that was on the faces of everyone that he saw. Taipei had fallen to the Chinese the day before.  People fled the invaders, even though they were on a small island and fleeing didn’t get you far. It was a deeply human reaction, to get away from danger.

The war for Taiwan had only recently turned bloody. The Chinese had savored to bring the ‘breakaway republic’ back under their thumb for decades. When they made their move, it was not what everyone had anticipated; a decisive military strike. Instead, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy interdicted the island, calling it a quarantine – blockading incoming food and fuel. They avoided the word blockade, purely for political reasons – blockades were acts of war. Even with rationing, the population had only a months’ worth of power and provisions. The Republic of China Air Force attempting to confront the PLA Navy, valiantly sinking one capital ship and badly damaging two others before being engaged in an air battle where the overwhelming PLA numbers devoured the brave Taiwanese. It was a brief and quick Battle of Britain moment, but this time the bad guys won.

Cries went out to the international community to come to Taiwan’s aid. There were pledges of weapons and humanitarian assistance, none of which had arrived. Transports and aircraft did not dare attempt to push through the Chinese interdiction zone that surrounded the island nation.  The pleas to the United States were met with an eerie silence at first. The coup there that had resulted in the new nation, Newmerica, had put their foreign policy in a tailspin. Each passing day that the United States didn’t respond was a signal to the Chinese to continue to execute their plans of conquest. 

Su-Hui had his own theories about the Newmerican’s involvement.  They are almost as socialist as mainland China. There were stories of camps, Social Quarantine, coming from Newmerica. Dissident voices disappeared overnight. There were stories of an arrested President dying in prison, and other important officials simply being erased from online content. They don’t want to rock the boat with China. They fear for their fragile supply chain, and the Chinese know that. 

At first, Su-Hui had continued to go to his job at Formosa Plastics, as he had every other day. Many people expected the invasion at any moment, but not him.  He had served in the Republic of China Army (ROCA) for two years on duty, and eight years in reserve. Where other people fidgeted and feared what was coming, he knew it wouldn’t come until the blockade did its damage. They don’t have to invade, they can starve us to death.  After two weeks, his business was shut down to conserve energy. Sabotage followed, blowing up several power transfer stations, plunging parts of the island into darkness.  One group of Chinese terrorists struck at one of the national oil reserves, ensuring that power losses would be coming soon…and they did. We should have expected fifth columnists operating here…we should have known better. 

The Newmericans claimed they would move air assets to the Philippines to support Taiwan but that nation denied them access.  They had been courted by the Chinese before the start of the interdiction and money secured alliance. The Chinese sent a naval task force off of the coast of Japan – forcing the Japanese to pressure the Americans to not use their air bases in that country. That same task force put Okinawa at risk. The North Koreans began beating their war drums as well, keeping the Newmericans forced to counter their buildup along the DMZ. I wonder how the Chinese enticed them? A Chinese naval ship parked outside of the Panama Canal as well, an unspoken warning. China was playing chess, while Newmerica was struggling for a stalemate game of Tic-Tac-Toe. 

The much touted sanctions Newmerica swore would being China to its knees were symbolic more than effective.  The United States is more interested in keeping its Walmart’s stocked than saving us. Everyone was using the right language, demanding China end the quarantine – but none were willing to go to war with China to help his people.  Words and threats are impotent against men with guns.

The day before he had moved his family, reports flooded the airwaves of Chinese forces landing. The Chinese were clearly over with their stalemate – they were coming in force.  The sounds of battle echoed off the hills, the booms of distant firing. 

Su-Hui saw the handwriting on the wall, Newmerica was not coming, nor was anyone else.  That was why he relied on himself for survival.  He had purchased the sailboat years ago and enjoyed short trips along the coastline of Taiwan.  After the brisk and vicious battles to hold off the Chinese, the military began to dissolve.  This was further fueled when his government began negotiations with the Chinese when the food supplies dwindled and riots broke out.  There was no doubt that the riots and looting was spurred on by Chinese infiltrators.  Now the Chinese had taken Taipei.  The time had come to depart. 

He had his brother in-law go to his sailboat and load it with supplies while Su-Hui assembled his family.  Hatchi, his wife, wore an overstuffed hiking backpack, his young son dragged a duffle, and his daughter, Ya-Ting, pulled two roller bags. His mother had a bag slung on a shoulder. Su-Hui had his hiking pack filled as well, but the most important piece of gear he had, a handgun, was in his cargo shorts pocket. Most Taiwanese frowned on owning guns, but Su-Hui’s father had carried one for protection and he now carried it.  He hoped it wouldn’t have to use it, but was fully prepared to do so.

The crowd seemed to get thicker and angrier the closer he got to the boat slips.  There was a smell in the air, a mix of the ocean breeze nearly obliterated with the stench of human body odor.  There were guards there, trying to keep people back…hopelessly outnumbered by the mob.  The sound of all of the voices talking and yelling was indecipherable, it was as if everyone in an orchestra were playing at once, all a different song.  Su-Hui elbowed and shoved his way forward so that he reached one of the guards with a clipboard. 

“I am Su-Hui Zhou – I have a boat here,” he yelled. 

The man seemed almost disinterested by the crowd surging at his security team.  He casually pulled up the clipboard and flipped through the pages.  “Identity card,” he said, apparently having found his Sui-Hui in his list. Fumbling for a moment, he pulled out his wallet and his ID card.  “I have brought my family with me.” 

The man didn’t make eye contact with him.  Perhaps that makes his job easier, not looking at the people he’s holding back. He motioned them past one of the guards and they squeezed through the gathered crowd. Three others attempted to follow them. “We are with them!” the young man said, shoving forward.

Su-Hui looked at the stranger, then to the man with the clipboard. “Are they with you?”

A part of him wanted to say yes. There might be room on his sailboat, but he had no idea how long they might be at sea.  Even with the food they had brought, it might be a long and hungry voyage.  Bringing the strangers along would introduce a risk that he was unprepared to make, no matter how much he wanted to. It was a cold calculation to make. This is about survival – my families. “I don’t know who they are,” he replied.  The guards at the boat slip pushed the strangers back into the mass with some degree of difficulty. There are so many people here, it is going to get out of hand at some point.

As they hurried to the dock where his boat was moored, he had expected to see his brother in-law at the sailboat, but he was nowhere to be seen as they board.  Cries from the crowd some 80 meters away tore at him.  “Don’t leave us…take us with you!”  He did his best to ignore them.

Stepping board the ship, he turned to help Hachi and his mother aboard, then the children.  He asked them to go below while he prepared to get underway and they did so without hesitation.  When he moved to the cabin, he glanced in the cabin.  The supplies looked like they were there, but there was no sign of Chun-chieh, his brother in-law.  Hachi called his name out several times, but there was no response.

Hachi’s face slid to one of panic – at least he could see that. Hachi was good at hiding her emotions, but he saw it. “Where is Chun-chieh?” she asked.

Su-Hui pulled out his cell phone and tried to call, but only got a disconnection tone. The cell phone system on the island had been pressed to the limit from the start of the blockade.  He tried two more times, but could not connect. “I cannot reach him.” 

Hachi tried too, and Su-Hui heard the same tone.  He moved to the sail storage and began the work of hooking them up and hoisting them up the masts. “Try texting him,” he suggested to his wife as he worked.

It took a half an hour to get the sails up and properly tied off.  He wouldn’t need them until they were clear of the harbor.  He went to the cabin and checked – yes, we have a full load of fuel. Mentally he went over the checklist of what he needed to do to get underway.  All we have to do is untie and start the engine. 

Returning to the deck, he joined his wife. “Anything?”

She shook her head.  He was here at some point, that is obvious.  Why did he leave?  His brother in-law had always been a bit erratic.  His train of thought was immediately derailed by a commotion at the edge of the pier.  The crowd was starting to get violent, shoving the security people back, the volume of their voice rose, as did the terseness of them.  It was clear that things were on the verge of getting out of hand. 

One man pushed past the guards, then another, running for the docks. The man, in his 20’s, charged for Su-Hui’s boat, clearly intent on jumping aboard. Su-Hui drew the pistol from his shorts pocket and held it with both hands, aiming it the young man. “Stop right there.”

“Take me with you,” he demanded. 

“Walk away.”  I won’t put my family at risk for you. 

“I can pay.”

Su-Hui was too tense to laugh, but he wanted to. Money no longer has meaning. “Stay back and you won’t get hurt.” 

The young man cracked a coy smile, as if he knew something that Su-Hui didn’t.  “You won’t shoot me. Just let me aboard.  You can trust me.” 

He put his foot on his boat, and Su-Hui fired. The gun kicked hard in his hands, making his elbows ache.  The shot hit the man in the arm, a spray of blood squirted from the wound and the man spun under the impact, falling on the pier. He crawled back from the boat.  His cocky expression had been replaced with one of pain and fear. Su-Hui regretted shooting him, but he was already taking great risk in trying to sail away. This was a matter of survival.  

Su-Hui moved to the moorings and untied the boat with one hand, holding the gun with the other.  Turning to Hachi, he handed her the gun.  “If he or anyone else tries to get aboard, fire at them.”  She nodded. He didn’t know where Chun-chieh was, it no longer mattered.  Soon the guard would be overwhelmed and there would be a rush for every boat. 

Reaching the cabin, he started the engine.  Slowly his sailboat slid away from the dock – away from the only home he had ever known.  Once he angled toward the open sea, he returned to the back of the boat where he found his family.  All of them were looking back at the docks, back at Taiwan.  He wondered if he would ever be able to return.  What will be left of my country now that the Chinese are here?

Did you like this little freebie?  Want to read more?  Confederacy of Fear is available for preorder right now!