The Hussar and The Jihad

In the world of Century City the elite counter terrorism force known as Bravo Squadron is the thing that gives jihadis nightmares. They only recruit the best so that they can maintain the status as the world’s number one source of dead scumbags. And they don’t take applications.

You don’t ask to join Bravo Squadron. They ask you.

And there is usually a defining moment in a man’s military career when he does something so extraordinary that it catches the attention of Bravo Squadron and gets him an invite.

The Hussar and The Jihad is the tale of this defining moment in one soldier’s life. The man that would go on to one day be called Stephen was once the bodyguard to his nation’s top ambassador. Then disaster struck, and an army of terrorists descended upon him and his charge.

This is the riveting account of that fateful day when Stephen had to fight against all odds to save one man. And it’s free on Amazon until Friday.

You can score yourself a copy right here.

 

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The cover for The Hussar and The Jihad

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Origins is FREE (for two days)

Hey folks!

I know people love free stuff so for the next two days (Wednesday/Thursday) ORIGINS (Century City Book 1) will be free on Amazon. If you haven’t had a chance to check out the series already here is your opportunity to dive right in.

Yes, I am biased, but I think its great fun. And I hope you will too. You can find it HERE

 

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5 Ways The Big News Outlets Lie To You

I’m keeping this one short. But it’s something that needs to be said…

How many of you out there knew that there was a mass shooting last weekend that claimed 154 lives? No, I’m not talking about the one in New Zealand. This one was much, much worse.

It happened in a place called Bankass in Mali.

Did you know about one in February that was up over one hundred and forty dead?
This one happened in Kajuru, Nigeria.

What about the one in January in a place called Maidan Shar?
Okay that one was technically a bomb hidden in a humvee followed by a shooting.

In the month of March there were 157 publicly acknowledged terrorist attacks. How many did you hear about?

These are all horrific events. Yet certain, large news outlets cherry picked only one for coverage. Think about why they would do this. If anything I mentioned is a surprise to you, it’s because these news sources were hiding things from you and presented you with a twisted view of the world around us.

If that wasn’t enough to convince you then think about what was one of the most widely covered stories for the past two years: alleged collusion between a sitting US President and Russia. As it turned out that never happened yet it consumed an inordinate amount of coverage.

If you want to know why they do this the answer is simple. Big news outlets want you to believe that their job is to present the truth to their viewers, yet what they actually do is bring their viewers to their sponsors. And this is the world their sponsors want you to see. An educated, informed, and independent populace is a danger to people that crave absolute power. That’s why they filter the narrative down to practically nothing.

Go out and find someone else. We all deserve a source of news that won’t twist things around to present a narrative that better fits their patron’s views.

Remember what I like to say: The world presented in the 24-hour news cycle and reality are two separate things. Try to live in the real world, not the clown world that we’re being shoehorned into.

Success!

So this week’s giveaway of Origins was a huge success. Like a lot of things, a picture describes it better than words.

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That’s right, Origins is right there next to David Weber’s On Basilisk Station. Now David Weber is a super talented and highly successful writer. On Basilisk Station is the first entry into his most popular series and THE name brand of space fleet sci-fi books. So to see my book up there right next to this giant of the industry is really moving, folks.

And it’s all because of the amazing people like you that took the time to push it up to the top. A few simple words on a blog cannot express my gratitude to all of you that made this happen. So thank you, thank you, and THANK YOU!

Keep on being awesome readers and I’ll keep on writing for you.

Origins is FREE today! (And tomorrow and Tuesday too)

Hey folks, I wanted to let everyone know that starting today and running through Tuesday the first book in the Century City series Origins will be available for free on Amazon.

 

A terrorist nation. A secret cabal. High seas piracy. The world is in flames. These are the stories of the heroes putting out the fire.

The pirate hunters of the B.A.M.F. sail the straits of the South Pacific. They’re all that stand between innocent mariners and the lawlessness that has taken root as nations descend into civil war. They have a track record of victory, but when sea going slavers put a hundred men, women, and children under the gun, victory doesn’t look like a sure thing anymore.

———————————

Alexis Isadora is fighting the war against terrorism the best way she can, as an intelligence officer in her nation’s armed forces. She’s among the best of the best and is closing in on the terrorists’ biggest supplier, an underworld arms dealer known as the Octopus. But as she closes the noose on the Octopus the tables are turned on her.

———————————

Chad Riley is a US Navy SEAL, the apex predators of the world’s armed forces. He’s been trained for war by a nation that has declared itself neutral in world politics. His unit has been sidelined while the rest of the world fights for survival. But all that changes one day when a mysterious group infiltrates US airspace and reveals a secret no one ever imagined possible.

———————————

Follow along as these heroes fight against the tides of chaos and unravel the mysteries hidden within Century City.

 

If this sounds like your kind of story go ahead and score your FREE copy here.

 

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Operation Southern Thunder (Your chance for a FREE story)

Do you like stories about covert missions in far away places? Do you like Top Gun style dogfighting action? Do you like FREE stuff?

If you answered Yes to all of the above then today you hit the jackpot. I’ve got a new story out for you guys and it’s all yours for the low, low price of FREE. Here is the intro to give you an idea about what sort of action we’re talking about here.

The year is 2014 and the world is burning. Civil wars, terrorism, and high seas piracy are the new norm. The Islamic State has erupted into a new superpower that calls itself the Caliphate. Meanwhile the United States has withdrawn from the world stage and watches from the sidelines as the world burns.

No one knows how the Caliphate became so powerful.

No one knows how they will be stopped.

And one tiny light shines in the darkness. An elite group of American Airmen flies a covert mission denied by their own government in the skies over South America…

Writing this story was a ton of fun for me. Not only do I like the characters involved (you’ll recognize a couple names if you’ve read OMEGA from the Century City series) but it hit on a lot of what’s going on in the world today. Or at least the parts that the big news outlets like to ignore.

I also got to find out a lot about the A-29 Super Tucano while doing research for this story. It’s featured on the cover art below. While it might not be a super sexy air superiority fighter like the F-22, it actually fit in perfectly for what I needed in this story.

I hope you guys like it. All you need to get it for FREE is sign up on the mailing list to the right. Just click the SOUTHERN THUNDER picture on the right* and you’ll be taken to the sign up form. Emails will be limited so you guys won’t be spammed and you can unsubscribe at any time through a link in the email.

So what are you waiting for? Get your copy of Southern Thunder!

* For mobile users there is a link at the top of the blog or you can click here.

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The Real World And The World We Pretend To Live In

There are concentration camps for religious minorities in China right now. Open air slave markets in Libya where you can buy laborers for $400 a head. And the US just withdrew from the war in Yemen.

These all sound like plot points from one of my novels, but they all actually happened in the last few months. If you haven’t heard of any of this then don’t fret, you did nothing wrong. This is just the world we live in today.
When you turn on the TV and watch the 24-hour news cycle you’ll see stories about children smiling at native Americans and a President that had two scoops of ice cream when everyone else had one (source). That’s what the big networks have deemed as the things you need to know. So its really no surprise that people don’t know about any of the other stuff I mentioned.

When you finally hear about what’s truly happening and how different it is than the reported narrative you get this specific feeling, it’s halfway between betrayal and the light bulb going on over your head. Afterwards you never look at the news the same way again. Welcome to my world.

When I started working at NSA I was hit with this daily. It was like being Neo in the Matrix movies, waking up to a world that is totally different than what you had been programmed to believe. Only I never actually learned kung-fu. But I did get to see and be a part of a terrific team of people that were fighting against the dark things lurking in the shadows.

That’s what really inspired me to write Slipstream Alpha. In Slipstream Alpha we follow Adam as he wakes up one day a changed person. He’s taller, stronger, and faster just like the superheroes of the comics he grew up with. Only this world isn’t one of superheroes and costumed villains twirling their mustaches. There are dark and terrible things out there in the night. And evil people that want to bring them to our world.

Adam is going to have to use his newfound abilities to stop them, because if he doesn’t they’ll summon the ultimate evil to Earth and bring about the Apocalypse.

In Adam’s world there are things out there people would rather leave hidden away from the light of day. It’s simply easier to pretend they don’t exist than face that reality that someone will have to deal with it. In a way its a lot like the world we live in. But just like in the world of Slipstream Alpha there are good people willing to do battle with evil, even if no one will ever hear about it.
Sound interesting? Then you can check it out here.

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SITREP: Venezuela

This past week you may have caught some interesting pieces of news flowing out of Venezuela. Military units were starting a mutiny against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro (source). Russian PMCs were reported to be guarding Maduro (source). England blocks the withdrawal of $1.2 billion in gold from a stash of $8 billion that the government had hidden away in Britain (source).

By themselves these articles may not seem like much, but together they paint a picture of a nation torn apart and a head of government scrambling to get out before he’s executed by the people he’d been oppressing for years. The country is falling apart and has been for decades. People have been suffering under a corrupt and brutal regime, but it looks that may all be over soon.

Venezuela sits atop the world’s largest proven oil reserves. They should be even wealthier than Saudia Arabia, yet one of the biggest problems in Venezuela is the widespread shortage of food and the malnutrition that accompanies it. Most of the population lost weight under this collective lack of food causing an average weight loss of 19 or more pounds per year. The people jokingly call this the “Maduro Diet”.

So how did they get there?

To get a good picture of how this happened we need to go back in time to the previous regime, the Presidency of Hugo Chavez. During Chavez’s reign the thought was to use Venezuela’s vast oil reserves to pay for everything the people needed. To that end the government took over the oil industry and began importing goods for the people from overseas. This coupled with the promise of vast social programs paid for by the oil made Chavez temporarily very popular with the people. That popularity wouldn’t last.

Chavez’s plan had a couple flaws in it. First, it fell into the same trap that’s plagued civilization for as long as its been around. A government with total control of the economy only works when it is 100 percent staffed with saints. Get just one sinner on board and the corruption train will depart the station for catastrophe-ville. The second flaw was this plan depended on oil revenue staying high. Once the price of oil dropped off the chart so did all those nice things Chavez promised to his citizens.

This was what got the snowball rolling. Further missteps by the government just made it roll faster and get a whole lot bigger.

A lot of those imports were food items. So as this collapse in oil prices and government promises unfolded, the shelves in supermarkets started to look a little bare. But there was still food for most people. This would change shortly as Venezuelan farmers began to feel the pinch of a shrinking economy and government corruption.

In the US, when a farmer wants to buy a new tractor from John Deere its no problem to pay for it in the local currency because the factory takes US Dollars without question. That’s because the US Dollar is one of the most steady currencies in the world and you don’t need to worry that the Dollars you took in today from a customer won’t buy you as much tomorrow when you try to spend it. This isn’t the case with Venezuelan Bolivars which at the time (and today) have an uncertain future. Other than the certainty that it will be worth far less in the future.

So when that Venezuelan farmer contacts John Deere about buying a new tractor to help with the increased demand for food, John Deere asks for payment in US Dollars. No problem, right? Our farmer can just go to the bank and exchange his Bolivars for Dollars. The only problem was that this was what everyone in the country was doing. The Chavez government didn’t like that all their valuable and stable Dollars were fleeing to foreign nations. So Chavez created a new government bureaucracy to control “capital flight” and limit the amount of valuables leaving their shores.

What this meant to our farmer was the bank would tell him they could only exchange Bolivars for Dollars up to a government mandated limit, which of course wasn’t enough for his new tractor. Funnily enough, if you were in good with the administration you had a much higher limit. Remember that part about needing to have 100 percent saints running things? This is what happens when that number is less than 100 percent.

So what can our farmer do now that he can’t buy the things he needs to keep up with demand? He can raise prices of course. Supply and demand. Economics 101 stuff right there. Unfortunately, this is what everyone else in the country was doing too. When everyone raises prices you get inflation.

To give you an idea of how bad this inflation is here are the numbers for January 2017 and March of 2018. In 2017 the monthly minimum wage was equivalent to $31.17 USD, but by March of 2018 the minimum wage would only get you $6.13 (source). In about one year it shrunk to just one sixth of its former buying power. Try feeding a family on that.

People simply couldn’t afford our farmer’s new higher rates. So, again, the government stepped in and set caps on the prices our farmer could charge. From the shopper’s perspective this is a good thing because now they can afford to feed their families again. However, now our farmer can no longer make money from traditional methods. As has happened countless times in the past when this situation has cropped up, a black market formed. But this leaves our farmer with a dilemma. He can go bankrupt by obeying the law, or he can pay his bills but risk going to jail.

What a lot of farmers ended up doing was get out of the agriculture business altogether. After all, Chavez had implemented a generous social welfare system that they could live off of funded by all that oil the country owns. The only problem was oil prices remained low and revenue from it couldn’t keep up with all of Chavez’s financial promises. The snowball only got bigger.

In 2013 Hugo Chavez, after battling cancer for two years, died leaving a country in chaos. His Vice President, Nicolas Maduro, claimed that Chavez’s death was an assassination by the CIA caused by infecting him with a cancer forming virus. Then Maduro assumed leadership.

For the people of the country, like our farmer, things didn’t change for the better under Maduro. In fact they got much worse.

With foreign sellers unwilling to take unstable Bolivars and a regime unwilling to part with its valuable Dollars, the black market for food only got bigger and blacker. People were smuggling in food across the border and selling it at outrageous prices. Ports sat empty. Murder skyrocketed to the highest rate in the world as desperate people turned to violence.

Again, the regime stepped in and put the military in control of food distribution.

But remember what I said about needing 100 percent saints? Yet again, this number was well below 100. One import business reported having to charge the government double the going rate on corn contracts. Half of that money was needed for bribing the military at the port.

This was an uncharacteristically wise move for Maduro because it did two things. First, it brought the black market under his control. Second, it kept the military disinclined to rebel while they were making loads of money under the table by shaking down merchants. Maduro may not be the brightest guy when it comes to policy for taking care of his citizens, but he performs at Einstein levels when it comes to preserving his own hide.

However brilliant that move was at preventing a military coup it still left the regular guy hanging out to dry and losing 19+ pounds per year. You can only do that for so long before people hit a wall, and it looks like this particular train is about to smash right into that wall.

Now you might be wondering why our farmer doesn’t just rally all of the others that are upset like him and just vote Maduro out of office. While technically that is possible what happens in Venezuela is every time the public rallies in support of an opposition candidate then armed groups of “grass roots” protesters arrive to break them up. These gangs are known as “Colectivos” and are totally not government backed paramiltary troops that have guns even after private ownership of firearms was outlawed. They are simply concerned citizens making sure only the right people get into office. So our farmer and his friends might have some problems if they decide they want to run a platform against Maduro.

In May of 2018 Venezuela held elections which Maduro won by a landslide. “Won” for certain definitions of the word. A lot of nations, the US included, chose not recognize the validity of this election. So did the National Assembly of Venezuela. They voided the election and appointed the head of the National Assembly, Juan Guaido, as acting President. Nicolas Maduro wasn’t inclined to abide by the will of the National Assembly though and refused to hand over power.

Venezuela now has two men claiming leadership of the country. The board is now set and the world is watching. Things could get ugly really quick in Caracas. Let’s hope they don’t.

Now I hope you fine folks out on the Internet have a better grasp of the situation in Venezuela as it stands today. It’s my hope that those suffering in Venezuela can climb their way out of the hole created by their corrupt government. It truly is a horrible situation they’re stuck in.

I personally have found their story fascinating and a tremendous life lesson for the rest of the world. It is the reason that Venezuela and all its current problems ended up as the backdrop for my book LOST CITY OF GOLD (link). A place where the food supply is a more powerful weapon than anything a soldier could carry is a place where shadowy figures can easily disappear from the world. No one cares about the strange people on the mountain top doing research on bio weapons when the entire village is starving. Only the next meal is important.

A lot of what I pulled into LOST CITY OF GOLD was straight from the research I did for this article. The only made up part is about the mad scientists creating genetically engineered monsters to conquer the world with.

Or is it?

What the #MAGAKIDS controversy can teach us and how I couldn’t have asked for it to happen at a better time

By now I’m sure everyone has heard about the high school kids that had a confrontation in front of the Lincoln Memorial this weekend. What makes this incident stand out for me isn’t the political aspect. We have outrage stories regularly presented to us in the mainstream media. That’s old news.

What was different this time is how quickly the real story behind it all came to light. Everyone got to see how dramatically different the ground truth was from the narrative presented. The world got to see something that usually only a select few ever get to experience: that moment when you realize the big news outlets can get stuff spectacularly wrong.

Folks, this isn’t something new unfortunately. This is pretty much how it has always been. It’s just that now the mainstream gets to see it in action. But it wasn’t the first time for me.

Several years ago I was fortunate enough to land a job at NSA. That was when I was first introduced to one of life’s cold, hard truths: The world as presented on the 24-hour news cycle is a separate and parallel reality to what really happens.

But on the flip side of that coin I got to see that there were terrific people keeping a lid on evil all over the globe. Though none of that will ever make it into the 24-hour news cycle. This is what inspired me to write Slipstream Alpha.

Slipstream Alpha is about a world where unspeakable horrors from other realities are trying to break into our’s with the help of sinister people from our own world. The only thing standing in their way are the elite soldiers fighting them from the shadows. And the unlikely appearance of a young man who finds himself with unexplained powers one day.

Most people will never hear of their heroics. But that’s okay. As long as they can keep a lid on the terrible things trying to claw their way onto our planet then no one will ever have to learn the ugly truth of what really goes on in the shadows.

If this sounds like something you want to read you can pre-order the book on Amazon.

And I hope we all learned a valuable lesson this week about letting hype and headlines control our world view.

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The Hussar and the Jihad – Now Available

 

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When you’re a bodyguard protecting an ambassador from a world of terrorists that want him dead, every minute in public is an interesting.

That was Stephen’s life before he joined Bravo Squadron. When the forces of the Caliphate descended on an international summit to kill all the diplomats attending, his life took a wild turn.

Every soldier that is honored with an invite to Bravo Squadron has a special moment in their life that defines them. At that moment they either rise to meet that challenge or get swept under by it. THE HUSSAR AND THE JIHAD is the riveting account of that moment for Stephen when he had to keep his diplomat alive against all odds.

Unlike the other books of the CENTURY CITY series this is a novella length story. It’s a great introduction to the world of CENTURY CITY and as a bonus also has the first story from CENTURY CITY: ORIGINS. At only 99 cents its also a great value.

That’s a ton of heroics, evil getting slapped down, and explosions for only pennies. And you can get it on Amazon.

 

Trivia: The design of the cover not only follows the theme of the other CENTURY CITY covers, but its a match for the flag of Stephen’s home country, Hungary.