Spoiler Alert – Communism is inherently evil. If that offends you, I offer zero apologies. I am from a generation of Americans that went to college and learned the true nature of socialism and communism in college; that it is a self-consuming economic system, destined to fail, that exists by devouring the freedoms of its followers. So when I was sent a copy of Dennis Haugh’s book I was prepared to be bored. After all, I knew about communism already.
Thankfully Mr. Haugh proved me woefully out of touch in some aspects.
It is safe to say we all need a refresher from time-to-time, present company included. I devoured this book in one sitting. In fairness, it is short, being a pocket guide and not an in-depth study. The length of the book is one of its strengths. Rather than a textbook exploration of these topics, Haugh crisply keeps the focus of the book on subject; short and disturbingly sweet.
I found the condensed format seductive. The prose of this book are concise and at times, painfully blunt. Don’t get me wrong, it is a pain that we need. A lot has changed since the 1980’s when I learned about this system. With social media and a never-ending assault on values, morals, and common sense, we need a book like this that positions the topic in a tight, digestible format.
You may wonder why two topics, Communism and Critical Race Theory, are in the book. When you read this potent guide you realize just how interconnected the two topics are and what the implications of that mean to America. I’ve had a number of people tell me they don’t know what CRT is – and even I have fumbled at times to explain it. Dennis Haugh has encapsulated the tenants of Critical Race Theory and what it means to our society, both long and short term.
I’ve plucked just a few random gems from this book:
“Labels are a convenient way to twist the way someone views a person, place, or thing.”
“Stalin identified “social reforms” as an ideal smoke screen to hide preparations for the revolution to destroy western societies.”
“Critical Race Theory replaces Marx’s class struggle with a race struggle for the dividing line between oppressor and oppressed, but it has gone further than classic Marxism in its quest to divide society.”
This book accomplishes in 44 pages what many college textbooks do in hundreds – it outlines the core tenants of Communism and Critical Race Theory against the framework of the society that we live in. It is a starting point and a refresher as to why this cultural and economic system is such a threat. The book is available from Defiance Press on Amazon.com
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.
The events of the last few weeks have no doubt been disturbing, if not, infuriating for you and your loved ones. I wanted to say this, clearly and concisely…your time there was not in vain.
You put your lives on the line for the rest of us. Your efforts prevented dozens, if not hundreds, of potential terror attacks. You preemptively prevented terrorists from killing other Americans. There are few things more honorable than protecting your family, friends, and homeland. You traveled far from home, lived a life under constant threats and stress for us. Those of us that weren’t called or didn’t serve, were shielded by your service. We all owe you a debt of thanks. You have mine.
Many of us believe you deserve better than what our performance has been in leaving Afghanistan.
Was it time to go? Probably. It was never a matter of the decision to depart. What matters is the execution of that departure. It is nothing short of a debacle. Calling it anything else is an insult, and the majority of Americans who witnessed it unfold on television. Lives have been lost and more may be as a result of one of the worst planned and executed military operations in US history since the Battle of Little Bighorn.
Your service is not reflected by the events unfolding over there right now. You are not defined by the actions currently taking place. You did your job, and for that, I am thankful as are millions of others. You do not bear any taint from what is taking place right now. Your service was not wasted. You did your duty with honor and dignity.
The fact that so many civilians in Afghanistan want to leave and come here is a testimony to your roles as ambassadors of our great nation. Many are willing to lose everything because they saw the kind of country and people we are because you were there. Even though you may not have been there in years, you are still saving lives…those of the civilians who are risking their lives to come here. Each civilian saved that comes to America is your greatest living legacy.
We owe you more than our appreciation and sincere thanks. We owe you accountability, both in the government and the military. The people that unfurled this poorly conceived operation need to be held responsible. It is not vengeance or blame-setting; it is our solemn responsibility to you to ensure that such a disaster does not happen again.
We do not owe this just to you, but to your loved ones who have also endured hardship and strife as a result of your service. Men and women do not go to war alone, their families are impacted as well. We owe them as well to get some answers to how this happened. People must be held accountable – period.
You can hold your heads up high for your service in that strife-filled country. Your honor is sterling and remains, as always, intact. None of us believe your service was anything short of honorable and in the finest tradition of the United States. We, as citizens, need to take action to evaluate the intelligence, planning, decision making process, and execution of this catastrophe. This is our call to duty, to ensure that this kind of horrid affair does not occur again.
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.
I try and avoid political non-fiction, but having had a phone call with the author, his premise caught my attention. This is a short book making it a fast non-fiction read – but the topic is anything other than light. What Axelman does with this book is layout a detailed case for secession in the United States. As a historian, I found the concept intriguing enough to pick up the book and managed to finish it off in just a few evenings of reading.
To be clear, I don’t personally support the premise. That doesn’t mean that Axelman doesn’t do an admirable job of making his case. There were a few times where I found myself in such agreement with the case he presents that I was actually challenging what I thought; which is what good writing can and should do.
He does a remarkable job of highlighting the philosophical and cultural differences that exist between the left and the right in America. Rather than resolve these, he contends that resolution may not be possible. Thus, the solution, is a division of the United States. He goes so far is to present a new Constitution, which is more Libertarian than traditionally conservative (at least in my opinion).
His case for secession is seductive, because it allows both sides to rule in the manner they desire. He even tackles the roles of the military in such a split, as well as how basic services would be administered.
The author makes his case solidly with prose like: “The United States is becoming increasingly divided and polarized. This polarization is augmented by federal laws that prohibit States from governing themselves. With each passing year, the laws that govern all 300+ million people in the US are becoming more similar, while ignoring how unique we actually are. As time passes, it will become increasingly evident to progressives as well as conservatives that a peaceful dissolution of the union – and independence for each State – is the only way to truly satisfy the dramatically different populations which comprise the union. Consider the avoidance of a violent civil war to be a bonus benefit of secession. If you don’t want to secede, at least give conservatives the nudge they need in order to leave the union.”
Powerful and thought provoking stuff to say the least!
I found myself agreeing with much of the early part of the book, but less with the solution. It didn’t feel right…yet. I stress the ‘yet’ in this. Sometimes this kind of work is dependent on the historical context and current events. While the present-day events don’t necessarily push for the solution that the author presents, that doesn’t mean he is wrong. Having started a book titled Texit, about Texas splitting off as its own nation again, forces me to concede that this line of thinking may very well gain momentum in the politically charged environment that we find ourselves in. If that is the case, then Axelman is a visionary. Only time will tell.
If you have had thoughts along the lines of, “Maybe we should just pack up our stuff and form our own country, with our values,” then this is a book I highly recommend. It is not a piece of fantasy, as evidenced by the extensive footnotes of support. This book grabs you hard, shakes you, forces you to reflect on the world around you, and lays a possible foundation for a roadway to political sanity.
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.
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
Coming in just a few months’ time (27 July 2021) is my first political thriller, Blue Dawn. 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: 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 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, though I have no 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 is more like the American Revolution in the south, where you have loyalists and colonists fighting each other in their own communities. People forget that part of the America Revolution, when Americans faced off against each other, but I found it to be a good anchor concept for writing about a new civil war. Also, our culture is different, as is the kindling that would potentially kick off a conflict. 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. That took a while to germinate my thinking.
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,) and the overreach of authority by government – the story finally started to come together. History was providing me the perfect platform for the novel. 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 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. More on this in later blog posts, but 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.
It has an ensemble and diverse cast of characters. 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, especially two of the female characters – Kara and Caylee. This is the story of individuals who are thrust into circumstances that are often beyond their control. All of them must cope with the strains of living in a world that was thrust upon them. It is akin to what many readers may feel about the inflicted change being forced on them 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. If you are terminally woke and are purchasing it to deliberately get offended, I suggest purchasing multiple copies to really get yourself fired up. Multiply your anger, fear and frustration with bulk buying! Cha-ching!
In the coming months, 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 I’m batting around after the book comes out. In the meantime, here’s a link to the publisher’s description and cover…enjoy, and get ready. With this book, I’m bringing the fight to you.
A few years ago my good friend Brent Evans (of Catalyst Game Labs) reached out to me about joining him at a little startup company he wanted to get going – Creative Juggernaut. Brent and I spent a lot of time talking and realized that we had a pretty cool vision for what a company could do. We didn’t just want to produce games, we wanted to build IP’s (Intellectual Properties) that spanned RPG’s, tabletop games, comics, fiction, animation, film – the whole shooting match. We are not competing with CGL, we are on very friendly terms with them. It is all good in the ‘hood.
Just so there’s no confusion, Shock Monkey Games is our games division. It’s all part of the Creative Juggernaut uber-corp.
So, we started work on a massive project, working late hours and weekends. It is called Land & Sea. Along the way, we came up with some cool one-off games as well. The first of those was Clash, which was a drinking card game for the 2016 election.
We released it just before the first debates and Eric Crew, who is on our team, had copies made for us to share with friends and family. The response was pretty positive.
Work on Land & Sea continues…the first three massive novels are DONE and we will be Kickstarting those pretty soon. There’s a LOT going on there, including some fantastic miniatures that will be made right here in the USA.
I proposed that we update Clash for the 2020 Presidential Election. If there was ever a year I wanted to get drunk watching television, it is 2020! So we did. We updated the rules, the cards, and decided to launch it as a Kickstarter.
It funded in the first 11 minutes. Bear in mind we set the bar pretty low because we have already gotten the production work lined up. After all, the game is done, tested, laid out, ready to rock. All we need to do is provision it and we are doing that with DriveThruCards. Our goal is to deliver it a week or two before the first debate.
I know there are a lot of rumors that the debates might not happen, but Clash can be used watching any of the news channels. Just turn on CNN or Fox News for an hour and start playing – you’ll be hammered by the second commercial break.
The game doesn’t have to be a drinking game. It can be played just for grins or for pennies or M&M’s. It DOES force you to pay attention as to what is being said. In this year in terms of politics, that is going to be a big deal. Also, we poke fun at both sides of this contest. We are equal opportunity abusers. With these candidates there is plenty of material to work with.
So, I hope you will join us in the launch of Clash 2020. Feel free to share this with your networks as well.