What if there had been a Declaration of Emancipation in Addition to Independence?

First off, if it had worked, many of the big problems in our Constitution that had to be incorporated to allow slavery wouldn’t exist and our present would be much different.

But the bigger question is this: would the one for Independence then have even been passed by the slave-holding colonies?

That’s the issue confronting Doc, a member of the Time Patrol when he goes back to 4 July 1776. It’s one of six mission in Independence Day (Time Patrol), which is free 27-29 January on Kindle and in Kindle Unlimited all the time.

The other missions on that day are:

The Battle of Mantinea, Greece 362 BC. What if Sparta won?

Monticello and Jefferson dying, 1826. What secrets does he have?

Gettysburg, 1863, the day after Pickett’s Charge. What if the Union counterattacks?

Entebbe, 1976. What if the Israeli raid fails?

Vicksburg, 1863 and what if the surrender to Grant goes horribly wrong?

For more information, here’s a slideshow:

Are You Prepared for a Pandemic?

Given the news out of China and now spreading around the world, we’re seeing what is hopefully only a foreshadowing of what is inevitable: a world-wide pandemic. They have happened regularly through history and another one will come. As we are seeing, there are things that make it even more dangerous, such as international air travel.

The following slideshow gives the basics of what to look for and how to prepare:

Newly published; Here Next to an Iphone

The Green Beret Pocket-Sized Survival Guide is now available. It’s an updated and upgraded version of previous guides and designed to fit just about anywhere.

This is the essential book we all need at least one copy of.

The prefect manual for your grab-n-go bag; glove compartment; kitchen drawer. Designed to fit in your purse or pocket.In order of priority, this book is a guide for dealing with emergencies, disasters, accidents and survival situations.
Written by a former Green Beret and instructor at the JFK Special Warfare Center and School at Fort Bragg: the course designed to train new Special Operations personnel.
It covers the five core areas: first aid, water, food, shelter and fire.
Then it goes into the wide array of specific situations: flood, earthquake, tornado, hurricane, tsunami, wildfire, drought, heat wave, blizzard, nuclear-biological-chemical incidents, terrorism, crime, riots, dangerous plants and animals, emergency communications and much more. Scavenging is also covered.
With the proper knowledge, we can survive.

What Can We Learn From Past Disasters To Prevent Future Ones?

This is the premise of Stuff Doesn’t Just Happen: The Gift of Failure. Two books, each one focusing on seven great disasters of the past. Have we learned from them? What can we learn?

Every disaster usually involved seven things happen. Six cascade events and then the seventh, the disaster. At least one of the cascade events is human error. Thus each could have been avoided.

FREE today, 1/19 and tomorrow, 1/20, is the second book in the series. Stuff Doesn’t Just Happen II: The Gift of Failure.

When an artist gets discouraged remember this . . .

There was a young girl who wanted to be a violinist. She practiced hard for many years. Finally, when she was a teenager, her hero, a famous violinist, a master, whom she modeled herself after, was coming to town for a concert. The young girl attended the concert and was able to meet the master afterward back stage. They talked and then the master asked the girl to play something for her, offering her own violin.

The girl took the master’s violin and played her heart out. When she was done, she waited for a response. The master reached out and the girl handed back the violin. The master put it in her case, stood, looked at the girl and said “Not enough passion.” Then she left.

The girl was crushed. She never played the violin again.

Years later, the two crossed paths. The now woman confronted the master and angrily reminded her of what had happened. The master listened, then nodded. “I was right. If what I said was enough to make you quit, you didn’t have enough passion.”

Then she walked away.

Write It Forward.

When Should You Not Trust Experts?

Passenger on British Midland Flight 92 reflecting on hearing the pilot announce he was shutting down the right engine: “We were thinking: ‘Why is he doing that?’ because we saw flame coming out of the left engine. But I was only a bread man. What did I know?”

We put our trust in experts every day. We trust the car we drive will work. The crew of the space shuttle put its trust in the engineers who designed it. A soldier trusts his weapon will fire. Often we put our trust and our lives directly into the hands of experts, such as when we board an airplane. We trust that the people who designed and built the plane knew what they were doing and did it right. We trust that the mechanics who worked on the plane, did so correctly. And we particularly trust that the pilot is a professional.

We believe that the pilots know what they are doing and are well trained. That they will react properly in emergencies. That we shouldn’t interfere with their judgment. After all, what do we know about flying a plane?

Every one of us has been in a situation where we over-rode our common sense in deference to an expert. It can be as simple as a repairman telling us something needs to be fixed, when we really believe they aren’t going to fix the right thing. Or that the chef undercooked our meal. But how often do we speak up?

When we put our lives in the hands of experts, and common sense says they are making the wrong decision, it’s time to speak up. Even if, as is likely, we’re wrong. Because once in a while, they’re wrong.

The Facts

On 8 January 1989, a Boeing 737-400 crashed just short of the runway near Kegworth in the UK. 47 people were killed and 74 received serious injuries out of a complement of 126 on board.

Shortly after taking off and passing through 28,300 feet en route to a cruising altitude of 35,000 feet, a blade detached from the turboprop in the left engine. It resulted in a jolt and a bang. This was followed by a pounding noise, vibration, and smoke coming into the cabin. Several passengers near the rear of the plane noted smoke and sparks coming out of the left engine.

For reasons discussed below, the pilot shut down the plane’s right engine; the wrong engine. The vibration and smoke decreased and they descended to make an emergency landing at East Midland Airport.

Just short of the runway, the vibration and smoke returned as power was increased to the left engine for landing and that engine ceased operating. The crew attempted to restart the right engine using airflow, but because they were getting ready to land, the plane was flying too slow and too low for this to work.

The plane crashed a quarter mile from the edge of the runway.

The seven cascade events that led up to this crash are in Stuff Doesn’t Just Happen: The Gift of Failure. It’s FREE today, 8 January, and always in Kindle Unlimited. Also sign up for my newsletter to be informed of good deals, as I rotate over 70 titles through free and discount.

How to Write and How to be a Writer

The two are somewhat different. There are lots of writing books out there. It seems after a certain number of years writing, each author tries to capture the essence of their craft and art. I first did this in the early 90s, which, yikes, is a while ago. My first draft of the The Novel Writers Toolkit was 11 pages long. And this was after I had published four books traditionally. As the years went by, I added and revised.

The Novel Writers Toolkit was picked up and published by Writers Digest in 2001. It earned out in less than six months. This version was quite a bit longer, needless to say. Once I got the rights back, I continued to revise and update as I learned more. The current version is current. And I just put it in Kindle Unlimited today.

The reason it’s called a Toolkit is I don’t believe you can ever tell a writer: “You can’t do that!” Because I guarantee I can find “That” in a bestselling book somewhere. There are many craft tools. We can only use them wrong.

But that’s how to write the book. What really surprised me in publishing was the lack of books on how to be an author. Every job I’ve held, I end up writing an SOP for it. Standing Operating Procedure. When I first reported to my Special Forces A-Team they had taught me in the Q-Course at Bragg to ask for the team’s SOP. So I arrived at 10th Special Forces, got assigned to a team, and asked for the team SOP. They didn’t have one. They said they knew everything they needed to know.

That didn’t help me much. So we wrote one. Turns out we didn’t know as much as we thought we knew.

Once I became published, I learned many hard lessons, usually by doing things the wrong way. I looked around for guidance and the attitude of agents and editors seemed to be: learn on the job.

Which is a terrible idea. But I understand where it comes from. They know 99% of the writers they work with won’t be around in 10 years so it’s kind of a waste of time to educate each one. But I always wondered: which comes first? The writer failing or the lack of education on the business side helping the writer fail?

So I started writing down what I learned. I had various names for it over the years. Even back when I used to comb bind my workbooks for workshops and conferences (that gives you an idea how long ago it was, well before Print On Demand), I quickly broke my Toolkit into a craft book and a business section.

The business section evolved into Write It Forward: From Writer to Successful Author. Not only did I write about lessons learned, I incorporated things we had done in Special Forces into it.

I have a unique perspective, not just because of my Special Forces background, but also because I have a wide publishing experience: 42 books traditionally published; 9 with an Amazon Publishing imprint, which is very hot right now; and the rest indie published. I’ve hit all the bestseller lists and have made my living as a writer for three decades.

I hope burgeoning writers take advantage of my knowledge as I continue to take advantage of the expertise and knowledge of others. I feel like every year I learn so much more about my craft and business. It’s always evolving.

But here’s something I truly believe after three decades: there’s never been a better time to be a writer!

What Is An Area Study

I’ve just added this section from the Green Beret Preparation and Survival Guide to Wattpad, and here is the excerpt below. An Area Study is the step many people overlook when they begin to prepare but it gives focus to all efforts.

WHAT IS AN AREA STUDY?

An Area Study is simply examining your environment with the perspective of evaluating assets and threats so you can properly prepare. An Area Study will allow you to tighten down your preparation and focus on things in order of priority. It’s not just the environment but also includes yourself and your team.

In Special Forces, prior to deploying to an Area of Operations, we conducted an Area Study of that location. You must conduct an Area Study of your Area of Operations (AO). This means studying your home, your work, school, and any other locales where you and people on your A-Team spend a significant amount of time. When taking a trip, you should conduct a travel area study, examining the route you will take, your destination, and your route back.

There are so many cases where a thoughtful Area Study followed up by the appropriate preparations would have saved lives. Preparation is so much better than reacting. Which is what we’re doing now.

Area Studies can have non-emergency uses, such as if you’re considering moving to a new place. An Area Study can provide valuable decision making data.

Think about it. You live in a tsunami zone. Have you actually driven your evacuation route? How long does it take? Have you figured out the quickest escape route on foot, when an accident caused by terrified people blocks the road or everyone in your neighborhood flees at the same time on the same route creating a traffic jam? You work on the 40th floor of a skyscraper. Do you ever look around and ask yourself: how do I get out of here if the normal means of egress are blocked? While schools run active shooter drills, what about the work place?

You’ve begun your Area Study and didn’t even realize it by doing Task Two. Some of the core questions are already answered: How close are you to the nearest military base? Nearest police station? Firehouse? Hospital? Do you know where the closest emergency room is? How long will it take to get there? How quickly can an ambulance respond to your location? When my wife and I lived on a winding road that was difficult and confusing to travel, during one medical emergency my wife had to be driven to the nearest largest road to meet an ambulance as it came toward us, saving considerable time and perhaps her life.

You want to examine your environment for a lot of things. What can harm you? What can help you? What can hide you? What are your enabling factors? What are your disabling factors? What is the terrain and how can it help you or hamper you in movement? What are the roads, trails, rail, etc. What effect does your environment have on you? What effect will you have on it?

You don’t have to answer these questions right now, but you will soon.

In essence, an Area Study requires you to invest some time and energy on research and to look at your surroundings from a different perspective. It can actually be a fun experience and allow you to see the world around you with a different perspective. Get your A-Team involved because we all look at things a little bit differently.

When my A-Team traveled, the engineers would be looking at things with a unique perspective. When they saw a bridge, they were mentally calculating how to blow it up. When they saw a stream, they were thinking how to provide a water supply to villagers and irrigation for fields. My weapons men would look at terrain for fields of fire for direct and indirect fire weapons. And cover and concealment for us. As a survivor, you have to look at your environment in terms of what you can use and what can be a threat, what can be scavenged and much more, which requires you to assume a different mindset for a while.

We live in a variety of natural environments. There are also a wide range of human developments from urban to remote rural. Thus one size doesn’t fit all.

Doing an Area Study is critical so you can tailor your preparation (and the information in this book) for your specific situation. Some threats are going to be of much more importance for you to prepare for than others. For instance, if you live in Oklahoma, the threat of hurricane is nonexistent (so far), but tornados and earthquakes are likely.

The first step is to start with the most important factor: you and those in your A-Team.

More to come.

The Green Beret Preparation and Survival Guide

Accurately Predicting How A War Will Go Will Make People Call You Crazy

First interesting piece of trivia: William Tecumseh Sherman was the first president of the Louisiana State Seminary of Learning and Military Academy, which eventually became LSU.

In 1860, with war clouds on the horizon, he wrote a letter to a fellow professor where he predicated what a Civil War would be like.

Not long into the actual war, after he resigned his post, went north and served the Union, he was sent home for being ‘crazy’ because he was thought to be too pessimistic.

I recently read an interesting biography of him, that I recommend.

Here’s the letter:

You people of the South don’t know what you are doing. This country will be drenched in blood, and God only knows how it will end. It is all folly, madness, a crime against civilization! You people speak so lightly of war; you don’t know what you’re talking about. War is a terrible thing! You mistake, too, the people of the North. They are a peaceable people but an earnest people, and they will fight, too. They are not going to let this country be destroyed without a mighty effort to save it … Besides, where are your men and appliances of war to contend against them? The North can make a steam engine, locomotive, or railway car; hardly a yard of cloth or pair of shoes can you make. You are rushing into war with one of the most powerful, ingeniously mechanical, and determined people on Earth — right at your doors. You are bound to fail. Only in your spirit and determination are you prepared for war. In all else you are totally unprepared, with a bad cause to start with. At first you will make headway, but as your limited resources begin to fail, shut out from the markets of Europe as you will be, your cause will begin to wane. If your people will but stop and think, they must see in the end that you will surely fail.

Duty, Honor, Country, a novel of West Point and the Civil War.