Day 189: 2020 Pandemic. How Climate Change Will Reshape the United States

We’ve noticed this summer in Tennessee has been more humid than usual. To the point where working outside is fraught with the danger of heat exhaustion event though the temperature is not extreme, perhaps 90 degrees. My wife and I are talking about moving. But where?

Welcome to the future. The Mississippi valley, extending to either side, north to Minnesota, will be like this from here on out.

It’s estimated that half of Americans, 162 million, will experience a decline in the quality of their environment in the coming decades. That being it becoming hotter and their being less water. Which, interestingly, before I began researching this I labeled as the two keys to wherever we move: cooler and a secure water supply.

Yes, California is burning and 2020 is the worst year. But as many are saying, it’s going to be looked back on as the best year. The same with Washington and Oregon. We lived on Whidbey Island in Puget Sound, a ferry ride from Seattle for several years. People there have disdained air conditioning and always been proud of their temperate weather (albeit they’re vampires for ten months of the year with no sunlight). That’s changed. Record temperatures are baking homes and work. Smoke from fires is trapped in the bubble of the Sound between the Olympic and Cascade Mountains.

The hottest day recorded on the planet, 130 degrees, was recorded this year in Death Valley. You might not live there, but people are still moving to Phoenix which had 53 straight days hitting 110. Meanwhile hurricanes are coming so fast, we’ve run out of names for this season.

One study estimates that one in twelve Americans will move from the Southeast toward the Mountain West, the Pacific Northwest and California. That’s literally out of the frying pan into the fire. Climate refugee is a term we’re hearing more and more and it is now inside our borders.

The unseen danger for many is drinking water. Drought is searing not only the west but Florida, Georgia and Alabama. The Memphis Sands Aquifer which provides water for MS, AR, LA and TN is going down by millions of gallons. Every day. In the west the Ogallala Aquifer will be gone by the end of the century.

Eight of the US’s top twenty metro areas face dire threats from rising sea levels, including Boston, New York City and Miami. One projection says 13 million will have to move away from the coast, but I think that’s vastly undercounting, since it’s not just whether their home will untenable, but the infrastructure around them. Even here, in Knoxville, during one deluge, a key road was cut by deep water. An event so unusual lots of people simply drove around the warning barriers and to their surprise were dangerously submerged as they plowed into deep water.

Insurers have been backing off of dangerous areas. Even in 2004, while we lived on Hilton Head (the entire island is a flood zone, something many locals never really consider) we saw the change in our insurance company and the coverage and knew it was time to get out. The problem is that state governments, such as in California and Florida and 28 more, have been supplementing insurance to keep people in place for economic reasons. The problem is that the numbers on the costs are going far beyond allowing people to rebuild in the same place their house burned, was blown down, or flooded. Florida, for example, has the potential for being liable for 511 billion dollars to back up coastal property insurance. That’s seven times the state’s budget.

Doing research for my flood risk for The Green Beret Preparation and Survival Guide, I found that the flood zone maps most use are out of date since they haven’t taken into account water level rising (not just oceans, but the Great Lakes and other bodies of water are going up).

We are entering a new world that is changing fast. The speed of the change, both in terms of climate change and human reaction to it will be exponentially fast and not in a good way

How are you preparing?

The Green Beret Pocket-Sized Survival Guide (same as above, minus the preparation part in order to be smaller in print)

The Green Beret Preparation and Survival Guide. Also in Kindle Unlimited.

Day 187: 2020 Pandemic. What President Roosevelt said two days after Pearl Harbor

We must share together the bad news and the good news . . . So far, the news has been all bad. If you feel your Government is not disclosing enough of the truth, you have every right to say so.” FDR over the radio, two days after Pearl Harbor, December 1941

I guess he trusted the American public wouldn’t panic and would pull together in the face of harsh reality.

As people on the west coast are finding out, it’s not just the fire, it’s the secondary effect of air quality that extends far beyond the hot zones.

Stay indoors. Make sure any air circulating isn’t vented to the outside. Here is the EPA page on what to do—of course, love where they say use N-95 masks which STILL aren’t readily available. Not like we haven’t had most of a year to react to COVID-19.

I’m releasing two books in the next month about disasters, because as we face future ones, we need to learn from the past.

The Green Beret Pocket-Sized Survival Guide (same as above, minus the preparation part in order to be smaller in print)

The Green Beret Preparation and Survival Guide. Also in Kindle Unlimited.

Day 179: 2020 Pandemic. 410,451 Dead From COVID-19 by the end of the year.

That’s the latest prediction. Which means a surge and more than double the current death toll coming in the next four months.

This is the projection by the University of Washington Institute for Health Metrics. They’ve been on target from the start. The model says many of those deaths can be avoided if we follow basic precautions, particularly wearing masks. It also could be much higher if we loosen restrictions and do thing like hold massive motorcycle rallies and football games and open schools. Oh, wait.

We still don’t have any Federal plan to deal with a pandemic that’s been raging all year. In fact, the government is actively working against any sort of plan. It’s trying to juke the stats, putting the re-election of the man who bungled our preparation and response ahead of public welfare. That is a non-partisan reality. We have a quarter of the world’s deaths from COVID yet only 4% of the world’s population. Numbers don’t lie.

What can you do?

Wear your mask. Don’t attend large gatherings of people. VOTE. Frankly, I’m going to vote in person, well masked and social distanced and immediately disinfecting after. I predict that mail-in votes will be used by the current administration to claim voter fraud and try to negate the election. After all the present administration claimed the Republican primaries were rigged in 2016. And won. And claimed the election was rigged. And won. Maybe we should believe?

Get your flu shot. You do not want the double whammy of COVID and flu.


I just updated the free slideshow on dealing with power outages. Now that I have a solid copy of Equinox ready for publication on 22 September, I am focusing on updated all my survival information and on some other projects that touch on it.

The Green Beret Pocket-Sized Survival Guide (same as above, minus the preparation part in order to be smaller in print)

The Green Beret Preparation and Survival Guide. Also in Kindle Unlimited.

Stuff Doesn’t Just Happen I and II: The Gift of Failure

Day 176: 2020 Pandemic. Money Can’t Buy Happiness, But Can It Buy Survival? What the Rich Get Wrong

I “what if” for a living.

What makes Special Forces elite is our planning before the actual mission. Planning for all possible contingencies, on top of the actual mission. I did it as an A-Team leader, as a battalion operations officer responsible for deploying 15 A-teams around the world, and as an instructor/writer for many years at the JFK Special Warfare School, which also runs the SERE (Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape) school.

I’ve applied those experiences as a bestselling writer in multiple genres in fiction, including thrillers, historical and science fiction and in nonfiction writing with my Green Beret Preparation and Survival Guide as well as my Stuff Doesn’t Just Happen books. In the former I’m looking forward to possible disasters; in the latter I look back at past catastrophes and dissect them for the cascade events that caused them and examine how similar disasters can be prevented in the future.

I constantly study and examine how many different types of people have been preparing for what the rich call the ‘event’. The ‘event’ is a breakdown of civilization.

Those preparing for the ‘event’ range from the person in the remote already living off the grid, to hard-core bunker preppers, to those plunking down billions/millions of dollars for their exclusive estates in places like New Zealand or the isolation of Montana or buying ‘condos’ in survival silos.

One of the problems when approaching the ‘event’ is that it could be many things. Frankly, a key event is going on all around us right now as the climate changes. We are experiencing survival situations right now as a byproduct of that from wildfires to stronger and more frequent hurricanes to persistent drought to flooding and more.

Thus, the first thing I teach is to conduct an Area Study. Every person and group need to examine their situation, beginning with themselves and expanding outward. For example, in my survival book I cover dealing with a house fire (which odds are you will experience at some level) well before learning how to make a fire for survival out in the woods (have a lighter?)

Thus, the rich make the same mistake most make: they’re focused on the end game and miss the more likely, dangerous events in their everyday life, such as stalking (aka Gavin DeBecker’s Gift of Fear), a helicopter crash or even health issues that are ignored or the dangers in their various mansions.

I’ve put a lot of thought and war-gaming into various scenarios for the rich because of some of my fiction. I’ll discuss more of these in other blogs, but one of the first that comes up is security in case of the ‘event’. The moment you establish a static position, you become a target. Thus, one must consider how to protect that position. Hiring guards raises many issues. Money will be worthless after the ‘event’. So, what are you offering? A place in the survival site? But why then is the no-longer-rich person in a better position than the security? Can you buy loyalty? With what? How long will it last? Does your security have family they will have a higher loyalty/love for?

I have an exponential rule of security: the more you need, the less likely you will have it.

There are ways around this, but one thing I’ve learned is that the rich didn’t get that way by giving things away. As I noted, each person’s situation is different so there is no one answer solves all.

For the rest of us? Get prepared now for the more likely occurrences and even for the event. Start small. Build from there. Here is how to do an Area Study. FREE.

The Green Beret Pocket-Sized Survival Guide (same as above, minus the preparation part in order to be smaller in print)

The Green Beret Preparation and Survival Guide. Also in Kindle Unlimited.

Stuff Doesn’t Just Happen I and II: The Gift of Failure

Do People Remember Fail Safe?

It was one of the classics of the Cold War. The strange thing is, that the scenario is just as likely now. There are more nuclear countries than when the original was written and the movie was made.

With the proliferation of disinformation on all sides and the ability to hack into supposedly secure communication systems, who is to say some rogue operative, or even a government, can’t send an order to a unit that isn’t under their command?

How would the unit even know it was an illegal order if it came in the approved channel with the appropriate code words?

When I was in Special Operations we often had no-notice alerts to test our readiness. We had to have our gear ready in our team room. Rucksacks were packed to go. As you can expect these never happened at 9 am on Monday morning.

We’d grab out weapons and gear and head to the airfield. Load onto a C-130 and head out. Was it real? Was it an exercise?

I took that idea and expanded on it for Dragon-Sim 13; not the greatest title, but it stands for a training simulation exercise for a team from Det-K in Korea; the forward based Special Forces unit based in South Korea. I lived for a while there studying martial arts and also occasionally called to active duty tours as needed.

Day 170: 2020 Pandemic. FREE: The Green Beret Pocket-Sized Survival Guide

Wildfires, hurricanes, COVID-19, and more.
2020 has not been the best of years and it’s not over yet.
The Green Beret Pocket-Sized Survival Guide is the survival portion of the larger Green Beret Preparation and Survival Guide. It’s what I have in both our cars and in our Grab-n-Go bags.

The kindle version is free today, 8/27 through Saturday 8/29. Technically, the kindle version is pocket-sized in that it can go in your kindle app on your cell phone. If you get it, make sure you take the extra step to download it to your library! Otherwise you might not have cell phone coverage or Wifi when you need it and its not there.

The print version is indeed pocket-sized.

A survivor of a hurricane that hit Galveston told me how important it was to be prepared and knowledgeable after her experience. A couple of things she confirmed:
Never let your gas tank get below half. When the power goes, there’s no more pumping gas.
Make sure have sturdy shoes in your vehicle.
Needed more bandages in the first aid kit as there was a lot of debris and broken glass.
Needed to get their chainsaw sharpened and keep ready.
 Do you know the Rule of Three?
Do you know what to do right away in an emergency/accident? That’s one of the first thing in the pocket guide.

Essentially the pocket guide is the back half of The Green Beret Preparation and Survival Guide. It doesn’t have the preparation portion because of space.

Stay safe!

What if the Japanese had succeeded with an atomic bomb in WWII?

Sounds like a reverse Man in the High Castle.

I had never really considered it until I saw a book in the Fort Campbell library some years ago titled Japan’s Secret War: How Japan’s Race to Build its Own Atomic Bomb Provided the Groundwork for North Korea’s Nuclear Program

Seems outrageous, right? First, the author does have some decent points. More importantly, as a writer, it sparked an idea. What if they had succeeded? What if they made two bombs and detonated one, as the author claims, in Manchuria near the end of the war. And the second? They put it on a submarine and sent it across the Pacific to the most likely target: San Francisco. But the war ended and the submarine disappeared. But what if it’s still there? At the base of the Golden Gate. With the enriched uranium on board?

And thus I have the core of a novel that is a modern day thriller and also goes back in history to the end of World War II and not just the atomic bomb program but more. My books always have a heavy dose of true history.

I ended up with The Gate which is only .99 today (8/26 and the next several days).

Here’s the slideshow for The Gate.

Day 168: 2020 Pandemic. And Now The Hurricanes. Are You Prepared?

Laura is growing in strength. And it won’t be the last of the season.

Adding to the problem is evacuating in the midst of a pandemic. Even sheltering since those are usually crowded.

Free slideshow:

Who Dares Wins: Special Operations Strategies for Success.

The Green Beret Pocket-Sized Survival Guide (same as above, minus the preparation part in order to be smaller in print)

The Green Beret Preparation and Survival Guide. Also in Kindle Unlimited.

Debunking 10 Persistent Publishing Myths for Writers

My opinion only, based on three decades making a living as a writer and across the spectrum of traditional, hybrid, indie, Amazon imprint, and hieroglyphic stone cutting. The following are things I hear all the time and I tend to think need to be taken with a small dose of hemlock.

  1. “Indie publishing is relatively easy—just get an editor, cover, format and upload”

It takes around three years to learn how to be adept at any profession. That includes self-publishing. There’s a reason all those people work at publishing houses. As an indie author, you have to do all their jobs (except editing and cover art). These days, I recommend fiction authors try to get an agent and get traditionally published to start out. Note, I say start out. I believe every traditionally published author needs to become hybrid ASAP. You can spend your time learning how to be a better writer or spend it learning to be a publisher. Spend it learning to be a better writer.

2. “My publisher will promote my book”

I had a series that sold over a million copies in paperback for Random House. Every time a new book in the series was scheduled, I’d get all sorts of promises about promotion and then nothing would happen. I finally asked my assigned publicist: “Where do you put all your marketing money?” The reply: “Into our bestsellers.” At the time it didn’t make sense and seemed unfair. As time has gone by, I get it. They really can’t make a bestseller. But once they have one, they can ride that sucker.

It doesn’t matter if your indie, trad, or Martian published. You must do the same as far as marketing. What that is? When I teach, I say: “You must market your book. But you can’t market your book. But you must. But you can’t. But you must. But you can’t.”  Got it? Good. That only took me about a decade so you’re ahead of the power curve.

3. “Authors aren’t competing against each other”

This one will get me in trouble, but I hear it all the time. The great brother/sister/alien hood of authors. We’re all in it together. First, when a big-time bestseller says it, fine, they can say whatever they want. They’re going to sell. Because there are two types of readers: the “I need a book, I’m in Costco” type who gets that big-time bestselling author’s book.
Then there is the prolific reader. That’s the audience for all us other authors. And there are only so many of them. And they can only read so fast. So, yeah, we are competing against each other in a tight market.

Does it matter? No. So why bring it up? Because there are authors out there who integrate competition in their business plan. And if you don’t accept that reality, they can affect your business plan.

Heck, AMS kind of runs off of that, doesn’t it? And if you don’t know what AMS is, back to class.

And because I think authors need to get real and face the fact this is a brutal business and we’re not all standing around the campfire linking arms, although I did do that once with Sue Grafton at Jackson Hole, but that’s a story for another day. RIP—a hell of a writer and person. And a realist after coming out of writing television.

4. “Indie book stores are pre-eminent in the industry and we need to support them”

Hell, yeah, I’ve spent thousands of dollars at indies. As a reader. My experiences as an author are not that great. My motto? Support the indie authors. Yay! How often do you hear that one? How many newspaper articles are written lamenting the career implosion of an indie author? None.

There are lots of great indie bookstores, but there are also a number who are kind of snobbish toward genre authors. Romance authors can tell you about that. On average, over half of the indie stores I’ve gone into where I’ve lived (and I’ve lived a lot of places—they haven’t caught me yet) have pretty much given me a cold shoulder since I write genre fiction, not the great American novel.

A couple of times after having my books that I brought in pushed back to me and told “We’re not interested” that store went under within a year. Lots of wailing and weeping and you know what? I tried to help. Still will.

I had to point out to a friend who was big on the “support your indie, boo to the chains” bandwagon that in the town I lived in then, that his book was racked in the chain, but not in the two indies. Support the place that sells your title.

5. “Getting a Bookbub deal is wonderful”

More controversy. I used to run Bookbub ads constantly. When Bookbub was new. Invested thousands and thousands of dollars. When Bookbub was mainly the province of indie authors. I was in on Bookbub so early I used to be one of the people they suggested you follow when you sign up.

A Bookbub ad would cause a big spike. Then a long tail of nice sales.

Two things happened:

The big spike isn’t as big and the long tail is almost gone. I know there are exceptions, but overall a Bookbub ad or a Kindle Daily Deal doesn’t have the impact it used.

Second, New York caught on. Now, the emails are full of bestseller backlist. And remember, it ain’t backlist if you haven’t read it. So, your prolific reader who you need has a choice between you, the midlist author, and a title from a big-time bestselling author. Tough, eh?

Bookbub is part of the trend of pricing ourselves into oblivion, but we’re all guilty of it and it’s just a reality. Hell, I’ll probably try an ad soon for my new series. There’s not much you can do about it, but be aware of the reality.

Here’s a key lesson I learned the hard way:  Don’t joust with windmills. Which leads me to:

6. “Amazon is my enemy”

If you haven’t read The Everything Store, then you haven’t done your homework. Every so often I’ll see an author post something on social media tearing into Amazon. Then I’ll look up that author on Amazon. And there are the author’s books. Now, I know for trad authors, they don’t control where their books are placed, but I assure you, no one is giving back the money coming in from Amazon. Amazon is a reality of the business. They own the eBook market. And 30% at least of the print; probably more now due to the pandemic. Is that correct? Is it fair? That’s a different matter.

Factor Amazon into your business plan. Use it. But also remember that another myth is . . .

7. “Amazon is my friend”

Amazon will screw you if it makes the business decision to change something. It’s not like they picked you specifically. They just made a business decision. You know, like Denzel Washington Man on Fire. It’s just business.

I have so many titles on Amazon I can literally see when the algorithms change based on what happens to my sales.

When they did away with Kindle Worlds with two week’s notice, it devastated some authors who were making a nice living in that niche. If they decide to change royalty rates, they’ll do it and they don’t care whether I, Bob Mayer, like it or not. So, I always keep a wary eye on what Amazon is doing. I also keep an eye on what’s going on in Washington in terms of Amazon.

Not only is Amazon not your friend, I will extend that to

8. “My agent, editor, publisher, etcetera is my friend”

I see writers put out there “I love my agent.”

That’s cool. There are agents I have tremendous respect for and think are great people. Same with editors. But when it’s a business arrangement, it’s a business arrangement. Sort of like marriage. The love can go out the window fast when the numbers don’t add up.

That being said, the biggest mistake I made as a writer is

9. “I can make a living from home and not have to network.”

You and one other person. I think his name is Stephen. For the rest of us, networking is critical. Conferences and cons aren’t for parties. They’re for networking and making friends, even though we’re competing against each other and your agent isn’t your friend, but yeah, she is. Kind of.

Which leads me to the worst myth:

10. “It’s impossible to make a living as a writer”

You’ll hear that one lamented in the halls of MFA programs everywhere. You’ll hear it from authors who ‘failed’. You’ll hear how they got screwed by their agent (who, apparently, didn’t love them back), their editor, their publisher, the bookstores, the readers, yada yada yada.

But you know what? There’s a lot more people making a living writing than you realize. Most of them are flying low, under the radar, because they’re busy WRITING.

I firmly believe now, this moment, is the best time ever to be a writer. Why? Because you control your destiny. The only thing between you and the reader is the internet. The only person who can say no to your career is you. The only person who can make you quit is you.

Trust me. I’m your friend and not competing with you.

The Novel Writers Toolkit.

Write it Forward: From Writer to Successful Author

Day 157: 2020 Pandemic. It’s Still Not Too Late To Get Prepared. Because It Ain’t Like It’s Gonna Get Better

I wish I could be more optimistic. I am at a certain level—I think the average American is a decent person. The problem now is beyond the average American.

Also, the reality of climate change is becoming starker by the month, not by the year. It’s not only the weather changing, but the very landscape. We will see more natural disasters. Wildfires, hurricanes, earthquakes, oh my. Yeah. Even in Kansas.

So why prepare now? This free slideshow explains why.

Who Dares Wins: Special Operations Strategies for Success.

The Green Beret Pocket-Sized Survival Guide (same as above, minus the preparation part in order to be smaller in print)

The Green Beret Preparation and Survival Guide. Also in Kindle Unlimited.