Preparing for the Coronavirus

There’s considerable disinformation and confusion about the extent of the virus. Some of it is deliberate propaganda. Some of it is exaggeration. Nevertheless, the virus is spreading and the infected and death toll is rising.

I just checked on Amazon and face masks are sold out. Take a look in your local pharmacy at the shelves to get an idea how your neighborhood is reacting. I just went downstairs to our in-house cache and retrieved several masks that were part of my preparation.

Besides masks one of the basics of prevention sounds simple but is actually very important: wash your hands. Avoid contact with others as much as possible.

If there is a full blown pandemic (the definition is in the slideshow below) the best course of action is to hunker down and avoid all outside contact for a month. Are you prepared for that? I just ordered another bucket of Mountain House Meals as I’ve used some for camping (a way to rotate supply), although we have plenty on hand, more is never a bad idea. With sufficient food, and as long as your water supply is good, you could ride it out. On the very first page of The Green Beret Preparation and Survival Guide, Task #1 is to buy at least 2 cases of water per person in your household for emergencies. That’s a six day supply. But that’s for when your water supply is interrupted or contaminated. In a dire emergency you have a supply of water in your home you might not have thought of and I cover that further in the book.

Most people don’t understand the exact definition of a Pandemic and I also cover that and it’s in the slideshow.

The bottom line is this should be a wake up call to a lot of Americans. 60% of household are not prepared to even a base level for emergencies. Do you have a first aid kit? The 2 cases of water per? An emergency radio? A survival manual that lets you know what to do in an emergency?

Here is key information on preparing for and surviving a pandemic:

A book to inspire, instruct and challenge the writer in everyone.”

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With over 70 books published and five million sold, Bob Mayer has been making a living as an author for over a quarter century.

Writing a novel and getting it published: That’s your goal. And nothing will keep you from making it happen. Such a goal, of course, presents a number of challenges. Make sure you have the tools you need to overcome them and succeed.

In THE NOVEL WRITER’S TOOLKIT, NY Times Best-Selling author Bob Mayer shares a veteran writer’s hard-won advice with a style that’s straight from the hip. He lays out the nuts and bolts of novel writing, along with guidelines for starting, finishing and revising your work.

You’ll learn how to:
Develop story-worthy ideas
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The Rule of Seven for Disasters

Several years ago, I became very interested in a television show titled Seconds From Disaster, which aired on National Geographic. Over the seasons it covered just about every plane crash and numerous other disasters. And I noticed a startling commonality. No plane crash just happened. There was always a series of mistakes, miscalculations, negligence and other events leading up to those final seconds and the disaster. Which led me to develop the . . .

The Rule of 7: no disaster involving humans happens in isolation or as the result of a single event. It requires a minimum of 7 things to go wrong in order for an airplane to crash or most other human-related disasters. And one of those 7 is always human error. It might not be the primary cause, but it is always a contributing factor.

Thus: they are preventable.

The Rule of 7 applies not just to plane crashes, but to catastrophes across a spectrum of widely different events, from a ship sinking, to a battle, to an emigrant party in the wilderness to tulips and a housing bubble.

For the first book I wrote about this, I picked 7 disasters to apply the Rule of Seven to. I examined the Cascade Events that lad up to the disaster.

What can we learn from 7 catastrophes that is relevant to us and could very well save your life and that of others?

We are more powerful than we believe in the face of catastrophe.

In fact, with enough knowledge and preparation, many individuals and organizations can avoid catastrophes altogether, and if caught in one, survive.

When Green Berets Were Charged With Murder

It seems like a headline from a current newspaper but this was 1969. And one of those was the commander of the Fifth Special Forces Group (Airborne) who would later become the template for Colonel Kurtz in Apocalypse Now.

While running technically illegal cross-border recon missions into Cambodia, a double agent was uncovered by members of Special Forces. They tried to turn him over to the CIA, but were told to take care of the problem themselves.

What happened became known as The Green Beret Affair. There are many who believe it was the impetus for Daniel Ellsberg to release the Pentagon Papers to show the hypocrisy and reality of the Vietnam War.

Here is a summary:

Write It Forward: from writer to successful author

The publishing business makes little logical sense. That’s because it’s part of the “entertainment business.” The first word, entertainment refers to emotion, while business refers to logic. Trying to explain how publishing works to someone from another business and they eventually look at you and tell you it’s insane.

But it is what it is. Lots of smart people work in it and have made it as good as possible, but the reality is there is no formula for deciding what books will succeed and which ones won’t. The classic joke is having the new CEO come into a publishing company from a different business background and proclaiming: “From now on, we only publish bestsellers.”

As if.

For writers who are novices in the publishing world, it’s a bewildering place. Agents and editors will help you, to an extent, but they are overworked. And, frankly, they know the odds of a new author breaking out are minimal. Of course, I argue which comes first there? The lack of help or the failure?

Regardless, it is on the writer to become educated. To learn who to run a business in publishing. I’ve been writing for a living for three decades across all spectrum: traditional publishing, indie publishing, hybrid, Amazon imprint, etc. I sat down and wrote Write It Forward as a guide to writers who are entering the world of publishing. There are more free slideshows like it HERE. A number on the craft of writing.

Here is an overview:

How Did Jefferson and Hamilton Plan For An Imperial President?

I’ve examined the balance of power in the United States in several of my books because the Founding Fathers never intended their work to last this long.

In The Line, I looked at what the military might do if it felt the President was going against what they viewed as the national interest and planned a coup.

In The Jefferson Allegiance I imagined if Jefferson and Hamilton, two political rivals, actually acted together to enact a secret document that was law in order to restrain a president who went too far. The document became The Jefferson Allegiance. It’s been used a number of times: Polk, Lincoln, Roosevelt (two of them), Kennedy, Nixon and others. The premise of the book is that today a group is looking for the original document in order to destroy it so that it can’t be used again.

When it was released, this book became the #2 seller at Barnes and Noble. Here is The Jefferson Allegiance:

2 Nonfiction titles FREE today and what’s in the pipeline

Free today are my two bestselling nonfiction titles: Who Dares Wins: Special Operations Strategies for Success and The Green Beret Preparation and Survival Guide. They are also always available all the time on Kindle Unlimited. If you indulge and find the books useful, please leave reviews as they’re very important.

There is a section in the survival guide on pandemics. While the coronavirus is worrisome, the reality is that eventually we will have a very bad pandemic, probably sooner rather than later. What we’re learning from this outbreak is how far and fast something can spread given modern air travel. Also, cruises probably aren’t the best thing to do. Just saying.

I’ve finished a draft of Area 51: Earth Abides, so it will be publishing earlier than June. I need to do some rewriting, editing, beta reads etcetera, but am hoping to get it to my audio narrator in early March and once that’s done it can be published. It will most likely come out in April which is good news. I really like how the series has come full circle and things that might have seemed disparate over the books actually make sense now. The answer of where the Swarm came from is provided and more.

Amazon put my Nightstalker books on sale this month for .99, so you can also take advantage of that. They’re also in Kindle Unlimited. Pretty much all my books are as you can see on my fiction page.

For the writers out there, I’ve finally gotten around to updating my writing slideshares. About halfway through. They’re on the free slideshow page. I’ve got Ides, Conflict Box, Plot and Character done and will finish the rest and update.

I’m into writing Hell of a Town and loving it. I have a strange fascination for things underground and there is a warren underneath New York City that no one completely knows. I’m very happy with reader reaction to Will Kane his Green Beret books. Reviews and emails have been overwhelmingly positive. Thus: nothing but good times ahead!

Wishing everything the best and remember: spring is coming!

Focus Your Preparation– One Size Does Not Fit All

In an era of coronavirus, wildfires, drought, power outages, tsunamis etc, we know we have to do some preparation for possible disasters. But if you go online the information available quickly becomes overwhelming and confusing and you find yourself staring at a grainy video of some guy in the woods trying to start a fire with a bow and stick.

I’ve been through a number of survival training programs and exercises and was an instructor at the JFK Special Warfare Center & School at Fort Bragg, which trains special operators and runs the toughest SERE school (Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape). When I reviewed what was available to civilians I was also overwhelmed. Lots of it seemed to go from zero to the zombie apocalypse. But what is the most likely thing people are going to face?

One of the difficulties I encountered when writing my Green Beret Preparation And Survival Guide (free 2/9 and 2/10, Kindle Unlimited at all times) was the reality that everyone’s situation is different. So I applied something else we used in Special Forces: the Area Study. You can save yourself a lot of time and money if you sit down and examine your specific situation and tailor your preparation.

It’s not just what’s most likely to happen where you live, work and/or go to school. It’s also you. What can you do? What can’t you do? What about your team?

I wrote the book with that in mind. The Area Study is the first thing covered. The first half of the book covers preparation in a step by step process, from the basics to more advanced.

I included checklists and also linked to equipment that would be useful.

It’s free today, 2/9 and tomorrow, 2/10. Please feel free to grab a copy. And if you find it useful, please leave a review!

Here is a free slideshow (also have a bunch of those available for download HERE):

Conflict is the fuel of Story

While we usually want to avoid conflict in real life, in fiction, it is what drives the characters and story forward toward the climactic scene.

When I do workshops, the first thing we do is get the author to say the core idea of his/her book in one sentence. That can take an entire in a workshop of four people. It’s not easy. It’s not 100% necessary but I’ve found for most authors, they don’t have a tight focus on what they’re writing. They had one to start with, but when they wade into the long journey that a novel is, they get lost. That idea is their compass.

After we get that idea written down, the next thing is to workshop the conflict box. To get the core conflict of the story between the protagonist and antagonist. Right away, there’s always at least one person who has a problem even identifying those characters, particularly the antagonist.

The conflict box is a way of putting this down in a way where we can see it. Remember: what’s in your head doesn’t matter. Only what we put down. So here is conflict:

Seven Days In May– A military coup?

Seven Days in May is one of those rare things: a movie that is better than the source book.

The book isn’t bad, but it’s full of lectures to the reader, while the movie does away with all that exposition and is a fast-paced drama. One of my favorite parts is how quickly Jiggs Casey, Kirk Douglas, makes up his mind that there is a coup in the making and goes to the President. He puts everything on the line over a suspicion, but one about a matter so grave to the country, he’s willing to do it.

I was dismayed a few years back when giving a keynote at a conference and I asked the audience how many had seen or read Seven Days in May and not a single person indicated they had. And that dismay just deepened when I searched on Amazon and discovered the book is, essentially, out of print. There’s not even a Kindle version.

Most Americans find the idea of a military coup to be unimaginable. But if you look at history, things can change fast. Peaceful countries have been torn apart in just a matter of months if the right circumstances occur and a match is lit.

I wrote a book, The Line, as part of my Shadow Warrior series, that I called an updated Seven Days in May about a cabal of West Pointers who are planning a coup. I was lambasted by the Alumni Association of the Military Academy for even writing such a thing. But fiction often presages fact.

In some case, fiction can’t even represent fact because reality can become so strange, it would have been dismissed if presented as fiction just a few years earlier.

The trailer for Seven Days in May is below. It’s curious that although its set a number of years ago, it occurs after the United States had a war with Iran. Who would have thought?

The very first law that Congress enacted was the Oath of Office for military officers. That was how important that oath is:

I, [name], do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.

Let us hope our officers remember that oath.

RIP Kirk Douglas.