Thanks to you and my other readers both books are getting great five star reviews
Yes, at long last The Dying Time: Impact is out in paperback--though I have to say, at 6" x 9" it looks more like a hardcover book. the print is crisp and clean and easy to read. Please be sure to tell your friends who only read "real" books.
I'll have After The Dying Time out in paperback soon--probably by month's end.
The TV crew has been and gone and they told me the piece will probably be ready for airing in December. They'll send me a link to it and I'll share that with you.
In other news my good friend and occasional co-author, Duane Lindsay, has a Private Eye thriller out and available for pre-order. I'm hoping you all will give him a chance to win you as readers. I know, it isn't apocalyptic, but it is one terrifically fun read with memorable characters, sparkling dialogue, unique action scenes and humor, lots of humor.
The Title is "Missing Amanda" and here's the cover and a link to it.
Once again I'd like to encourage you to spread the word about my books to everyone in the known universe since word of mouth is the best advertising and is pretty much the only advertising I get or can afford.
This time I'm asking you to go to Goodreads and post a review. I know it's a huge favor to ask, since you've already probably done a review on Amazon but by putting a review on Goodreads you can greatly increase my exposure to new readers.
My webmaster is still working on the changes I'm making to my website--she promises they'll be up soon. I hope you'll revisit it and check them out. Especially the new links I'm installing to other writer's webpages and blogs.
Since those links aren't up on my website yet I'm including some of them here. The links are to their Amazon Author Pages where you can check out all of their books. As you will see all of these authors are prolific and well respected.
ML Banner, author of the Stone Age series and other really cool books has an new one out titled "Highways: A Post-Apocalyptic Tale of Survival." His books get great reviews on Amazon.
Jay J. Falconer is the author of the American Prepper series, the Narrows of Time series and others. His books "Redfall: Fight for Survival" and "Redfall: Freedom Fighters" are getting terrific reviews on Amazon.
Once my webmaster has finished updating my website I have her woking out how to get free eBooks to all of you great folks who have already signed up for my Newsletter.
As always I invite you to contact me. I love hearing from you. To that end I've added my email address, website address and Pinterest site address to the contact information at the very end of this Newsletter.
And now, without further ado, more Prepper content from my upcoming book:
BUGGING IN: WHAT TO DO WHEN TSHTF and YOU LIVE IN SUBURBIA by Raymond Dean White
Entertainment and Morale
Story Time and News Swapping
I cannot overestimate the importance of maintaining good morale in your family and in your group. Depression can ooze in like a slime mold or hit like a battering ram, leaving you feeling listless and hopeless. It is almost as deadly as an enemy bullet. To combat the malaise of depression you or some member of your group who has the gift of gab should tell stories, preferably funny stories because laughter is the best medicine for depression.
Story hour should be a daily tradition—perhaps in the evening just before the children are put to bed. Stories can humorous or instructive or, better yet, both. The intent being to take people’s minds off the daily struggle to survive and lift their spirits. Seriously, no matter how well prepared you and your group may be folks are going to feel deprived (no TV, no fast food, no going out to a movie). Some may even feel bullied (into doing tasks they hate) after TSHTF. You can recognize the necessity of having to weed a garden, change a soiled diaper, wash “family rags” after you run out of TP, stand mid-watch or go out on patrol, but few among you will enjoy such tasks. After a while minor irritations at having to do such things can wear you down, like wind and water eroding a mountain.
Again, no matter how well you think you are prepared, if a disaster like an EMP or full scale economic collapse occurs the reality of living without being able to go to a hospital in an emergency, or to a grocery store for food, or of being able to turn on a tap and have fresh, potable water will come as a distinct shock. And if part of your preparedness planning isn’t how to deal with you and your people coping with that shock things will spiral out of control very quickly. Your family and/or group members will get angry and start snapping at each other and before you know it such events can escalate to violence. It could be a fist fight or murder—within your group.
Hopefully you have written a charter—a Constitution, if you will—for your group that details how such situations will be handled. But mere laws are no deterrent against passion, they deter only those who are reasonable—and when you’re angry or enraged reason flies away like a frightened bird.
One of the best ways to nip this kind of stuff in the bud is to maintain open, honest communication among group members. And that, which goes hand in hand with maintaining good morale, is why having a daily gathering of all members not on watch is so important. I don’t care if you call it story hour, gripe fest, or daily news, having a daily get together to swap stories, gripes and news is the best way to keep a lid on your new situation.
One of the best ways to maintain everyone’s interest during story hour is to have everyone participate. By that I mean everyone in turn relates a story, a bit of news or airs a grievance followed by a general discussion of the issue. Yeah, I know, this is like public speaking and a lot of folks aren’t comfortable doing that. But they need to be made to understand that their participation is important. Now, I don’t mean to suggest that everyone in a large group contribute in every daily meeting, but it is important that everyone who needs to do so be allowed to speak up.
For those who are simply so shy they have difficulty speaking in public an alternate is to have them read a chapter from a book of fiction—something lighthearted would be best. This will entertain the young ones and give them something to look forward to at the end of days that promise to be long and difficult.
Of course some news will be so critical you won’t be able to wait for story hour. A scout returns and tells you a large, armed group is approaching your neighborhood. The person you have monitoring your emergency radio tells you a relief column is pulling into your town with food, water, and medicine. In such an event you’ll have to call an emergency meeting or, better yet, broadcast the news over your groups HAM or GMRS radio network (covered in Chapter 13 on Communications).
The Importance of Fiction Novels
I’ve been an avid reader since I was laid low with rheumatic fever at the age of ten. That was when I stumbled onto Andre Norton and her apocalyptic book, “Star Man’s Son.” Can you say hooked? From there I proceeded to devour books by Robert Heinlein (especially Lazarus Long tales), Keith Laumer (love those Retief stories), Louis L’Amour (go Sacketts) and too many others to list. Almost all of them were tales of adventure laced with a sense of humor. They inspired me to become a writer and I can only hope that my book, “The Dying Time: Impact” mimics them in that regard.
Good fiction can fire the imagination and raise weary spirits. It can expand a youngster’s vocabulary and even teach them spelling and critical thinking skills. Aesop’s Fables can teach them about morals and ethics. Books by Gary Paulsen (Hatchet) and Sara Hathaway (esp., Day After Disaster) can teach wilderness survival skills in an entertaining fashion.
My point here is that well-written fiction can both maintain morale and teach valuable things to readers in your group.
Why Non-Fiction Books Are Critical
What if TSHTF before you’ve mastered all the skills needed to survive and thrive in a post-apocalyptic world? You’ve become a terrific gardener but something’s wrong with your chickens. You’re a good hunter but you never got around to learning how to reload. You’re pretty good at first aid but your teenager has a rotten or broken tooth or worse yet, a swollen, painful abdomen and your group doesn’t have a doctor or a dentist. You eat meat but have never butchered any livestock or game.
Reality check: No matter how thorough your planning and preparations, you cannot be prepared for every eventuality. Shit happens and when it does you need to deal with it.
If neither you, nor anyone in your group, has the knowledge or skill to address the problem the best solution can probably be found in a book. Books on topics from Aquaculture and Beekeeping to Small Unit Tactics and Survival Medicine, fill my book shelves and reside in boxes in a large, critter-proof storage shed. They are all part of my survival/prepper library.
For the past two years I’ve become a Kindle addict and mine has several hundred books stored on it already. But what happens if my Kindle and my computer get fried? Some of the books on it I’ve downloaded to my computer and printed out and placed in a ring binder, but ANY book I think could be of critical importance I purchase in print. So long as I don’t suffer a fire, a flood, a tornado or some other such disaster, I’m golden.
The knowledge stored in those books is invaluable both because my group may need it and because we can trade or rent that knowledge to others for items we may need. Books can educate you in fields of knowledge in which you are ignorant. That is their value and it is inestimable. Knowledge is power.
While we’re on that topic, in real life today there are those who seek to keep others ignorant. They mostly do this by substituting propaganda, indoctrination and brain washing for true education. Parents who have wised-up to this trend counter it by homeschooling their children or by sending them to charter schools. While it is any parent’s duty to teach their child right from wrong, decent morals and ethics, most children will learn these by observing how you act, rather than by listening to what you say. Actions do speak louder than words.
That said, I believe the single most important thing any person can learn or teach others is how to think for themselves. The best teachers invariably use the Socratic Method, which means that instead of telling someone how to do something or what the answer is, they ask clever questions that lead that person to developing the reasoning skills to solve their problem on their own.
I was once asked if I had to choose five books to have as a Prepper what would they be. After a great deal of thought I decided I would have to focus on books that would help me and those in my group teach our children. They are our future and if you don’t teach them well you are robbing them.
“Aesop’s Fables”—useful for teaching morals and ethics to the young but also entertaining and thought provoking for adults.
“The Basic Works of Aristotle (Modern Library Classics)”—A very good primer on how to think for yourself, how to question, and how to behave ethically by the man who has largely shaped thought, at least in Western Civilization, for the past 2,000 years.
“How to Think Like a Scientist” by Stephen Kramer and Felicia Bond—learn how to answer questions correctly and learn how to frame experiments to prove your answers correct.
“The Boy Scout Handbook 12th edition”—in my opinion the best edition before political correctness took over, for teaching young people outdoor skills and other valuable lessons. I recommend the coil bound edition as it is more durable and please buy it from www.scoutstuff.org, so the proceeds goes to the Scouts.
“The Organon: The Works of Aristotle on Logic” by Aristotle—a much more difficult book on logic for adults. Mastering these principles will help you solve any problem logically, rationally and convincingly. It’s not an easy read but man does it ever provide food for thought.
Now if I had to choose a few “How To” books on Prepping that didn’t have to focus on teaching children, they’d be:
“The Prepper’s Guide to Surviving the End of the World as We Know It: Gear, Skills and Related Know How” by M.D. Creekmore—Informative, instructive, well-written advice from a man who actually lives the life he preaches.
“The Complete Guide to Saving Seeds: 322 Vegetables, Herbs, Fruits, Flowers, Trees, and Shrubs” by Robert Gough and Cheryl Moore-Gough—if you don’t already know how to save seeds this is the book for you.
“Lyman 49th Edition Reloading Handbook”—because unless you have an eidetic memory this isn’t a subject or trial and error.
“The Prepper Pages: A Surgeon’s Guide to Scavenging Items for a Medical Kit and Putting Them to Use While Bugging Out” by Doctor Ryan Chamberlain—absolutely priceless. It’s no exaggeration to say this book could save your life or that of someone you love. Lots of great practical how to information here. I was torn between this one and another of his books titled, “Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse: First Aid Kit Building and Mini Med School for Preppers (The Prepper Pages).”
“Home Butchering and Meat Preservation” by Geeta Dardick—because this is something else you want to get right the first time.
“The Encyclopedia of Country Living” by Carla Emery off the list. It covers virtually everything, at least in basic terms, that you need to know to live off your land.
“The Ball Blue Book”—the bible of canning.
“Back to Basics: A Complete Guide to Traditional Skills” by Abigail R. Gehring. The description speaks for itself.
“The Art of War” by Sun Tzu, translated by Ralph Sawyer—If you ever think you may need to fight a battle, or write about a battle, or study a battle, this is the book for you. This edition is so well translated the subtlety, finess and wit of the original comes through.
Now let’s talk fiction books and ebooks. I suspect that after TSHTF no one is going to want to read apocalyptic fiction but before the event or events happen they are great reads. So let’s go with apocalyptic fiction.
“The Dying Time: Impact” by Raymond Dean White (Hey, if I don’t toot my horn who will?)
“Lucifer’s Hammer” by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle—simply one of the best ever.
“The Stand” by Stephen King—a masterful classic.
“One Second After” by William Forstchen—possibly the best EMP novel out there.
“Sedulity” by David Forsyth—Wow! The apocalypse while on a cruise ship. Riveting.
“The Jakarta Pandemic” by Steven Konkoly (part of the Perseid Collapse World)—Excellent Prepper advice wrapped up in a pandemic scenario.
“Stone Age” and others by M.L. Banner—A Carrington Event EMP ends the power grid and away we go. Just wait until you meet the King family.
“Redfall” the series by Jay J. Falconer—Nanobot rain messes up everything and Simon Redfall finds himself in the middle of it all.
“Day After Disaster” by Sara Hathaway—a strong woman protagonist (and it’s about time we had one in this genre) separated from her family struggles to return home amidst chaos and danger.
“The Lord of the Rings” trilogy plus “The Hobbit” by JRR Tolkein.
“Dune” by Frank Herbert.
Anything by Robert Crais—P.I. stories with humor and flair.
The Spenser series by Robert B Parker—more P.I. tales with humor and flair.
Anything by Michael Connelly—esp the Harry Bosch books, truly some of the very best crime writing you can find.
Anything by Louis L’Amour—Best western writer EVER!
“The Moon is a Harsh Mistress” and anything else by Robert Heinlein—a truly entertaining sci-fi mind.
Science fiction by Isaac Aasimov, David Drake, David Weber, Andre Norton, David Brin, Keith Laumer, Ray Bradbury and Gordon R. Dickson, just to name a few.
The Jack Reacher books by Lee Child—action-filled adventures by one of the very best.
“Tap Doubt” by Raymond Dean White and Duane Lindsay—terrorists are poisoning America’s water supplies. All the best element of chilling suspense, a wickedly clever con game and some laugh out loud humor. (Coming soon)
“American Jihad” by Raymond Dean White—taking the war on terror to the terrorists one bullet at a time. (Coming soon)
All of the above books hold a place of honor on my bookshelves and I have hundreds more in boxes, stored for entertainment, education, study, trading or lending.
Few things can lift spirits and improve morale faster than music. I don’t care if it’s a waltz by Strauss, “Yellow Submarine” by the Beatles or “Poker Face” by Lady Gaga music can soothe angry, disturbed feelings faster than anything except a mother’s hug. Pretty much anything but Gangsta Rap would be acceptable in my group.
When I was a young boy being raised on a small farm near a small town in SE Kansas our community would gather every Saturday night for Amateur Hour. Volunteers would play instruments and sing while couples danced in the street and children ran wild, playing tag or hide and seek. My mom had a terrific voice and she’d sing at these events. I remember my dad saying when they were dating he didn’t need a radio in his car so long as she was along.
Men and women would gather in groups to discuss local events or simply to swap gossip. Everyone had a good time and while beer was consumed by some adults I can’t recall anyone ever making a scene or starting a fight.
Amateur hour helped the community bond and remain close knit.
Do not make the mistake of assuming you don’t have time for such pursuits, because if you don’t work to keep up morale, your community, no matter how small or large, will eventually fall apart.
We didn’t have “Call of Duty” or other intriguing computer games when I was young so I’m not going to get into those. (Who knows if computers will work after TSHTF.) We had board games like Monopoly, Risk, Parchesi, Backgammon, Scrabble, Clue, Checkers, Chinese Checkers, and Chess. Depending on the size of your group you may need several chess and checker sets. Strategy games like Chess, Checkers or, better yet, Go can help develop critical thinking and analytical skills. The advantage of all these games is no power source is required, aside from lighting if they are played at night.
Trivial Pursuit, Dominoes, and Mexican Train (another dominoes game), are excellent party games. Gather your friends. Have a few drinks and enjoy yourselves. Don’t get cutthroat. Remember you’re trying to maintain or build morale so having fun is the priority.
If you ever wanted to learn to talk in code learn Bridge. Every bid is a coded message describing your hand to your partner. Most card games involve using strategic and tactical thinking skills. Bridge excels at teaching both.
Spades, Hearts and Whisk were favorites of mine, but bridge almost ruined my college years. There was an ongoing game in the student union that ran 24 hours a day. I was bad. Sometimes I’d get so involved in a game I’d miss class, or ten.
Contact is a survival oriented card game that could be very useful for finding compatible members for your mutual assistance group. It poses often difficult choices that are morally ambiguous at best. Each player discusses in turn what they would do and why they would do it. That is followed by a general discussion and a vote on which player’s answer is “best.” Just like real life the situations described on a card often, and quite deliberately, lack specific details that could make resolving that situation easier.
For example—and I’m not taking this one from the deck—just making it up. “It was a hard winter. Bellies are lean, tempers short. Starvation has been barely kept at bay by your group’s best gardener/farmer, a person whose depth of knowledge has been critical to your people’s survival. They just killed their spouse. What would you do?”
This game is rarely fun in the traditional sense, but it is very interesting.
Don’t laugh, but verbal games such as Animal, Vegetable or Mineral, or Twenty Questions are excellent for teaching children (and older folks as well) how to think logically and critically. Each question is chosen to enable the questioner to narrow down the categories of potential answers until arriving at the correct one. Twenty Questions is often the more difficult game since the person with the answer isn’t limited to Animal, Vegetable or Mineral and can be thinking of the Large Magellanic Cloud, or a mathematical concept like the Pythagorean Theory.
Scavenger hunts, in addition to being useful for your group’s survival, can also be an educational experience for your children. For example, each child or team of children get a list of edible or medicinal wild plants or tree leaves to collect. They have learned to identify these plants or trees from your group’s naturalist/herbalist who may use books or flash cards along with field trips.
All games (with the exception of Contact) should be fun first and educational second since your goal is to keep your group’s morale up.
I haven’t left sports for last because they are least important. Rather it’s more likely your daylight hours will be filled with so much work neither you nor your children will have time to play baseball, football or any other sport.
This is sad because team sports teach kids how to work together to achieve a goal as well as promoting physical fitness. It’s also sad because I’m a Denver Broncos football fan and when civilization starts falling apart such events will likely disappear. Big sigh, followed by huge sigh. Pity poor us.
If you can make time for athletic activities by all means do so, but I think sports like hunting, fishing and scavenging supplies will be more in keeping with your priorities. Physical fitness will be achieved through hard work and relatively lean rations. Teamwork will be learned by working together, whether in kitchens, hauling water, in fields, restoring houses, on patrol or learning military drills. One good thing about this is that staying busy tends to keep morale up and prevent the onset of depression.
I’ll be the first to admit that after TSHTF reality will almost certainly be grim. No matter how well you think you’ve prepared, hardship and sacrifice may be your daily fare. That is why it is critical to make time to have FUN. Otherwise you just get old and cranky and who in God’s name wants to live like that? Life was meant to be LIVED, not merely endured, so go have yourself some fun! Get out your guitar, piano, recorder and make music. Fire up your CD player, iPod w/speakers, or jukebox and dance with your wife. Play a game with your children. Find JOY in being alive. Far too many won’t be.
That's it for this month. Next month's topic will be Sprouts.
I've been collecting PINS on my Pinterest site that I hope could be of use to you so I invite you to go there and browse.
I AM NOT ASSOCIATED WITH ANY OF THESE BUSINESSES IN ANY CAPACITY OTHER THAN THAT OF CUSTOMER. I OFFER THESE RECOMMENDATIONS BASED EITHER ON MY OWN PERSONAL EXPERIENCE WITH THE PRODUCTS OR MY HAVING RESEARCHED THEM EXHAUSTIVELY. USE MY RECOMMENDATIONS AT YOUR OWN RISK.