Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Why Bug Out is Not in Stock on Amazon

If you've tried to order the paperback version of Bug Out: The Complete Plan for Escaping a Catastrophic Disaster Before It's Too Late from Amazon in the past few weeks, you might have noticed that it is not listed as "In Stock" as usual, but rather as "Ships in 11-13 Days".  Well, that 11-13 days has turned into longer, and I just found out from my publisher that the reason for this is that the book is backordered.  This is not something that normally would have happened, as it has been reprinted several times already when each print run sold out, but the good news is that the reason they ran out is that Barnes & Noble placed a large order that suddenly cleaned out the supply in the publisher's warehouse.

The reason that this is good news is that Barnes & Noble has finally gotten on board with how serious the topics of survival and prepping are, and the bookstore chain will now be stocking Bug Out and many related titles on their store shelves in most, if not all locations.  In fact, my publisher said they were going to have an end-cap dedicated to the subject in the next month or so.  This is an about face for this chain, as they were reluctant to stock many of these titles until their popularity increased.  I stopped by my nearest Barnes & Noble store the other day to check this out, and sure enough, there were copies of Bug Out, Getting Out Alive, and Bug Out Vehicles displayed prominently on the shelves, along with some excellent related titles by other authors.  Hopefully the backorders will be filled soon and Bug Out will soon be listed as "In Stock" on Amazon again.  I apologize to anyone who may have ordered the book without knowing this and is still waiting.

Friday, June 22, 2012

More About My Novel: THE PULSE

As promised in my last post, I wanted to follow-up with a bit more detail about The Pulse and why I wrote it.  My reading (aside from online) these days is usually divided about evenly between fiction and nonfiction, and eventually, I'd like to split my writing about the same way.  Over the years as I've worked on my various nonfiction books, I entertained the idea of writing novels but there always seemed to be another book project in the works that kept me from devoting much attention to it.  I still have nonfiction projects in progress, and over the next few months will be completing two new manuscripts that will go along with my survival books most of you are familiar with.  But over much of last year and the beginning of this one, I completed my first novel and now it is about to be released in a few days.  Here's a bit more about it and why I wrote it the way I did.  I posted this "From the Author" description on Amazon last night:

"My favorite adventure stories have always been those that cast ordinary people into extraordinary circumstances and predicaments their previous lives could not possibly prepare them for.  Although I sometimes enjoy reading works of fiction that involve larger than life characters with highly specialized training and superior fitness, skills and abilities, you won’t find any fearless heroes of that kind in The Pulse. 

After experiencing first hand the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and living in the impact zone where the power grid was destroyed and stayed down for weeks, I often wondered what it would be like if that situation were much more widespread and long-lasting.  If a solar flare or EMP attack took out electrical power and shut down most forms of communication and transportation in North America, the aftermath would be far worse than that of any hurricane and there would be no sudden influx of crews from neighboring states to work around the clock to rebuild the grid.  Grocery stores would soon be stripped bare and no delivery trucks would be running to replenish their stocks.  People would become desperate in short order, especially in large urban areas where the limited supplies available would be quickly consumed.  Far lesser events have shown that such desperation quickly strips away the thin veneer of civilization that keeps complex societies in order.  Violence would become rampant, and law enforcement agencies would be overwhelmed and unable to protect the citizens of their jurisdictions.  Those who would survive such chaos would have to act on their own and act quickly to seek safe refuge. 

In The Pulse I chose to focus not on the technical aspects of the solar event or the subsequent rebuilding and reorganizing of civilization in the aftermath, but rather on the immediate concerns of two groups of characters.  Casey Drager and her roommate, Jessica, are college students at Tulane University, in New Orleans.  Casey’s friend, Grant, an older graduate student who was living in the city after the devastation of Katrina, knows from experience that they have to get out and get out fast.  Casey’s father, who is especially close to his only daughter after the loss of her mother in a car accident years before, is away on a short sailing vacation in the Caribbean with his brother when the pulse strikes.  Among islands a thousand miles from the U.S. mainland and suddenly cut off from all communication with his daughter, Artie is desperate to find out if she is okay. Like any father in such a predicament, Artie Drager will do everything in his power to find his daughter, but with no transportation back to North America faster than his brother’s sailboat, he has no way of knowing if she will still be there when he finally reaches New Orleans.  Obstacles and dangers await both parties as they deal with their situations as best they can; and everyone involved has to quickly adapt to the new reality of a world without the safety net of technology and organized society."  

In addition to the above, I would like to add for my readers here that unlike some survival fiction books,  it was not my intention to write an instructional manual masquerading as a novel.  While you will recognize some of the actions of the characters as advice I've given here and in my nonfiction books, the people in the story are not survival experts and were certainly not planning for or even thinking about an event like this.  The college girls and their friend "bug out" of New Orleans, and do so on bicycles because that is the only reasonable means available to them, but they aren't doing so because they were prepared to or even familiar with the term.  Their older friend, Grant, does have fairly extensive camping experience and as an Anthropology graduate student, he has spent a summer doing a field study in a remote region of South American jungle, so he does have some skill and knowledge of living without the support of the grid.  In the other storyline, where the father is trying to get back to his daughter, you will see some of the advantages of travel by boat in a situation like this - something I've also talked about here and in the nonfiction books.  

Could a solar flare really occur that would have effects as devastating as those described in this story?  I don't know for sure, and scientists who study these things have differing opinions as well.  I think it's possible, and many believe that it is highly likely or even imminent.  I certainly hope not, because if something like this ever does happen, the aftermath will be truly horrible.  In the book, this solar event sets the story in motion and is of course, central to the plot, but I don't spend a lot of time detailing the science of it or the wider reaction around the affected areas.  I purposely keep my characters "in the dark" about the extent of it, and focus on how they will meet their immediate needs and get to where they want to be.  This is probably how it would be for most of us anyway if such an event occurred.  Without communication and rapid transportation, news would travel slow and wild speculation and guessing would prevail.  

I hope you will enjoy the story for what it is: essentially a father's quest to find his way back to his daughter, and a total immersion in to a harsh new reality for three young college students who end up in a labyrinth of rivers and swamps north of the city.  

The Pulse was originally scheduled to be released on July 10, but I did get word from the publisher that copies have shipped, and now it looks like Amazon will have the book in stock on June 25.  If you plan to buy it soon, ordering on the release day always helps make a book more visible on Amazon by causing a spike in sales rank.  You can check the book's page here or by clicking on the cover image at the top of this page to find out exactly when it will be in stock, as this is always subject to change.  If you do read the book, I look forward to your feedback, and if there is enough interest in the plight of these characters, the ending leaves a good opportunity to follow up with a sequel that I would like to write.  

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Coming in July: THE PULSE: A Novel of Surviving the Collapse of the Grid

Most regular readers here know that I was working on a novel over the last few months since Bug Out Vehicles and Shelters was released.  Some of you may have already seen the book's Amazon page, but if not, here's a preview of the front and back covers.  I'll post more detailed information about this book here soon.  In the meantime, if you'd like a preview, the "Look Inside This Book" feature has been enabled on Amazon, so you can read the opening scenes and see if you'd like to read more.  The book should be available in print and Kindle form early next month.

From the back cover:


As massive solar flares bombard the Earth, an intense electromagnetic pulse instantly destroys the power grid throughout North America. Within hours, desperate citizens panic and anarchy descends. Surrounded by chaos, Casey Drager, a student at Tulane University, must save herself from the havoc in the streets of New Orleans. Casey and two of her friends bug out to the dangerous backwaters of Mississippi where they are forced to use their survival skills to seek refuge and fight for their lives.

Meanwhile, thousands of miles away, Casey’s father, Artie, finds himself cut off and stranded. His Caribbean sailing vacation has turned into every parent’s nightmare. Warding off pirates and tackling storms, Artie uses the stars to guide him toward his daughter.

The Pulse is a compelling action-adventure novel that reveals what it would take to survive in a world lit only by firelight, where all the rules have changed and each person must fend for himself.


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