Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Human Ingenuity for Survival

Episode 128: Season 4 ep.4


Vince and Erika make their way south in the Battle for the South adventure. They employ creative strategies to keep themselves under the Federal Forces radar. Today we explore human ingenuity with special guest Samuel Culper, former Military Intelligence NCO and founder of ForwardObserver.com.

Listen to the Audio Podcast 


Featured Quote:


"Live together, die together,"

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Lessons from Samuel

Human ingenuity can be defined as a person's ability to think through processes and devise systems to improvise, adapt and overcome. It indicates that when you are presented with a problem you can devise a solution. 
There are many examples of human ingenuity in every aspect of our daily lives. People also use this ability to stay under the radar of the law. Smugglers dig under walls and build elaborate systems to travel back and forth. They use unmanned vessels to transport illegal products in the oceans. Drones have flown drugs over prison walls and provide a new way for terrorists to surgically strike targets without the use of suicide bombers.  

Worldwide culture is harnessing human ingenuity to decentralize the globe. Bitcoin and Crypto currencies provide a way to circumvent centralized banks. However, this increased ability to individualize has created a new threat to nations. Small groups that needed the power of a nation to launch cyber attacks in the past, are now capable of completing such attacks themselves.

Another example of human ingenuity at work in the military intelligence community happened in the 1980s. A Soviet Counter Intelligence Analyst studied the files of known or suspected CIA assets in the Soviet Union. He built a matrix of indicators to detect CIA activity. This led to an exposure of agents throughout the Soviet Union.

Necessity causes ingenuity to happen. When humans are faced with problems it causes them to think of solutions. When our lives or the life of our loved ones are on the line we tend to stretch even farther out the box to develop a solution. 

http://www.forwardobserver.comHowever, many times we fall back to our level of training. If you haven't been exposed to the stresses of a given situation it is hard to develop a creative solution. The body actually has three responses to stress: fight, flight or freeze. Usually people freeze when they are overwhelmed by a new situation. You need to have exposure, experience, and information to be really ingenious. 

It is imperative that you start practicing being exposed to these stresses now. Adversity will show you what you are made of and you will gain confidence so your brain functions under stress. A great way to simulate this stress is to wait until a major event happens, for example the Furgessen Riots. Data mine Twitter, the radio, the news, social media and all open source material. Then sit down with a map of the area and try to plot the details on the map. Try to keep your map updated to real time. This will give you some great real world experience.

The advantage goes to the most informed and ingenious thinkers. Your enemy gets a vote in any war or conflict. If they are more ingenious, they will have a tactical advantage. Advantages stack up in any conflict. "When change on the outside is happening faster than change on the inside the end is in sight." (Quote by Jack Welsh) You have to plan well in advance. If you can't keep pace with what is happening outside your door, you're going to lose. Having an information advantage provides you with an early warning system. In order to be creative you need to be a subject matter expert. To make forward thinking decisions you need good information. If you don't have this information, you will have an intelligence gap. Gaps are exploitable and can put you in great risk.

Samuel Culper

"Samuel Culper is a former military intelligence NCO and contract intelligence analyst. He now runs Forward Observer, a threat intelligence services company based in Texas."

Link: ForwardObserver.com

Sara F. Hathaway
Sara F. Hathaway is the author of the The Changing Earth Series: Day After Disaster Without Land, The Walls of Freedom and Battle for the South. She also hosts The Changing Earth Podcast which blends her fictional stories with educational survival tips. Sara grew up in the country where she developed a profound interest in the natural world around her. After graduating with honors from The California State University of Sacramento with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, she launched into a career in business management. In her fictional novels her research and experience with survival techniques and forgotten life-sustaining methods of the generations past come to the forefront in a action packed adventures. She has used her background in business management to pave new roads for fictional authors to follow and she delights in helping other achieve the same success. She currently lives with her husband and two sons in California where she is at work on the sequel to her first two novels. For more information and a free copy of “The Go-Bag Essentials” featuring everything you need to have to leave your home in a disaster visit: www.authorsarafhathaway.com
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Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Setting a Tone


Episode 127: Season 4 ep 3

In this chapter of Battle for the South, Master Sergeant Bennet catches up to Star and Sean on the river boat. In order to get the information he needs he must establish a tone immediately. Here to talk with us about establishing a tone, what that means and how you can apply it to your survival leadership qualities is L. Douglas Hogan, author of Oath Takers and The Tyrant Series.

Listen to the Audio Podcast


Featured Quote:

He was used to giving orders and having them followed."

Tone Setting Lessons from L. Douglas Hogan

Establishing a tone refers to setting up the parameters and style of leadership based upon the people you are leading. A leader must be able to adapt the tone to fit the situation they are in. The specific tone must be a fluid concept so that the leader can adapt and overcome any circumstance. The people you lead are not automatons, a leader needs to flex because different people will respond to various motivators.

You must find out what tone will be appropriate for your team. What will the team respect you for? What leadership style do they respond to best?

There are many benefits to setting an appropriate tone for your team. You will maximize the team's effectiveness and cohesion. Without a solid tone you do not have a team. You have a group of people acting on more of an independent basis, each going their own direction because there is no leader to follow.

People are either naturally born leaders or become them when they are thrust into the moment. The leadership seed that can blossom in that moment can create a very powerful leader. Remember that learning and doing are two very different things. You can read all day long but until you have to apply those concepts through communication and diplomacy you really don't know what it is like to lead.

There are disadvantages the leader must endure to maintain the tone. The specific disadvantages differ with the tone that is set. Hitler and Gandhi both set tones. They were very different tones. One was a dictator using fear and one used peace to protest his concerns to the British Government. The dictator can only maintain his tone when he can use fear to ensure control. Once that fear is gone the dictator must face some very hard consequences. Although Gandhi made many self-sacrifices to peacefully protest, he earned the respect of many followers who gave him control because they respected him.

In a supervisory role you need to have fairness and firmness across the board. You are not going to treat individuals with different needs the same way. If someone has antisocial tendencies you will have to gently motivate them while someone with passive aggressive tendencies will need a firmer hand.

If you lead, rather than dictate or manage, people will want to help you accomplish your goals because they respect you and want to join in your success. It becomes a rewarding experience for both the leader and the supporter. Treat your followers with respect and help them achieve their goals.

A long term survival situation will require a mix both military and civilian leadership skills. Military tones of leadership styles have been developed through trial and error over centuries. Once you agree to join you sign yourself over the United States Government, agreeing to be ruled by a combination of dictatorship and leadership. Rank allocates authority over another individual but the individual's character will decide if he becomes the leader his is supposed to be or not.

In survival groups, most decisions always default back to the leader but these groups are usually lacking in a command structure. In most military settings when a leader is lost it is clearly understood through rank who will be the next leader. That clear understanding needs to be established in a survival group as well, far in advance of a disaster. Everyone in the group needs to understand the process and succession. Everyone should be part of a rank and file system and receive leadership training. You never know when you will be called upon to lead. However, you must never outwardly show a sign to a leader when you are in a survival situation. Knowing who is leading the group is a big advantage for an enemy.

The leader of the group needs to know everyone's skills and put the right person in charge of each task required. They must know how to delegate resources appropriately. Trust in you supporters to do their job and that trust will be reciprocated.

In situations of distress there is a tone known as Command Presence. This concept is taught in the Use of Force Continuum by correctional facilities and law enforcement agencies. Command presence refers to the ability to step into any given situation and be recognized as the voice of authority. The person in uniform, whether that be a police uniform or a designer suit, is recognized immediately as the commanding person. This is established because of the way they hold themselves and often solely because of their attire.  Often times their presence can be enough to de-escalate stressful situations.

In a long term survival situation this command presence can be hard to gain through uniform identification. The person with the command presence must be recognized and respected or they must possess the auditory skills that can stop people immediately. There are many ways to establish a command presence: violence, trust, or a track record of solid decision making are a few examples.

It is a tricky business deciding what tone to set for each situation. Follow your instincts. A good leader will anticipate the needs of her supporters and adjust. Learn what motivates them and how you can use that to get goals accomplished.

Once very important thing to remember when you are in this leadership role is a leader should never lose personal emotional control. Freaking out or blowing up doesn't inspire others to follow you. A leader also needs to make decisive decisions. Listen to your supporters and make a solid choice.

Please feel free to leave tips and pointers on creating a MAG (Mutual Assistance Group) below.


Introducing No Light Beyond

Mason Loss was a single father, separated from his seven year old daughter Lydia Nicole, when the United States was suddenly devastated by several massive coordinated EMP attacks. Having sustained life threatening injuries in his search for her, he awakens from a two-year coma to find that the world is not the way he left it. To make situations worse, Yellowstone has erupted and expelled an ancient microscopic organism that threatens the course of human survival. Now, Mason must traverse the ashy suburban landscape in search of his now nine-year old daughter. Along the way, he discovers a far more terrifying enemy than humankind can safely manage.

L. Douglas Hogan

L. Douglas Hogan is a U.S.M.C. veteran with over twenty years in public service. Among these are three years as an anti-tank infantryman, one year as a Marine Corps Marksmanship Instructor, ten years as a part-time police officer, and seventeen years working in state government doing security work and supervision. He is the best-selling author of “Oath Takers”, has authored four books in a series titled Tyrant, and is working on the sixth a final book of the series. He has been married over twenty years, has two children, and is faithful to his church, where he resides in southern Illinois.


Links:
Sara F. Hathaway
Sara F. Hathaway is the author of the The Changing Earth Series: Day After Disaster and Without Land. She also hosts The Changing Earth Podcast which blends her fictional stories with educational survival tips. Sara grew up in the country where she developed a profound interest in the natural world around her. After graduating with honors from The California State University of Sacramento with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, she launched into a career in business management. In her fictional novels her research and experience with survival techniques and forgotten life-sustaining methods of the generations past come to the forefront in a action packed adventures. She has used her background in business management to pave new roads for fictional authors to follow and she delights in helping other achieve the same success. She currently lives with her husband and two sons in California where she is at work on the sequel to her first two novels. For more information and a free copy of “The Go-Bag Essentials” featuring everything you need to have to leave your home in a disaster visit: www.authorsarafhathaway.com

 

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Bugging-Out with Children

Episode 126: Season 4 ep.2


In Battle for the South, Master Sergeant Patrick Bennet begins the hunt for Vince and Erika. His first task is to find out if they took their youngest son with them. Today we explore the considerations parents must make when bugging out with children with special guest Blake Alma,host of the Outdoor Experience on the Hunt channel.

Listen to the Audio Podcast 


Featured Quote:

"How did I let myself get so close?"

Subscribe to The Changing Earth Podcast 


Lessons from Blake

Natural disasters pose a serious threat. The most important thing you can do is prepare your children for an emergency evacuation or "bug-out" situation is talking with them in advance. They have to understand a day might come when they will have to carry their special back pack, "go-bag," and leave the house. Talk to them about the importance of their "go-bag" and allow them to choose a few personal items to add to it. Get them used to being in the outdoors and start teaching them basic survival skills before you ever attempt a major hunting or fishing experience. The basic bush craft skills are essential preparation for a young person.The more you plan with your children the more they will understand when the time comes to put your planning into action.
Keeping your children in the dark about possible disaster scenarios can do them a major injustice and could result in the loss of your child. Parents are sometime fearful to discuss serious topics like this because we don't want to scare our children. However, I can tell you from personal experience, that an emergency evacuation is very stressful, even for the adults. As a child, with no idea of what is going on, the stress can be much more extreme. Do them a favor, and talk to them first. If you don't talk to your children before they are in situations where serious consequences can occur, they will be completely vulnerable. In an urban environment you should be talking to them about strangers, kidnappers, first aid and urban survival tactics. While in a rural setting the focus should be on bush craft skills, possible dangers of getting lost or someone getting hurt, first aid, etc. 
There are a wide array of emotions that your child will experience while on this journey. Children are going to complain...a lot. The weight of a bag will add to their misery. There are many stories from the past explaining horrible scenarios of mothers smothering babies when they needed to keep them quiet. Plan for the contingency that you may need to keep your child quiet somehow. It may seem outrageous but you can make ether rather easily and it would be better to knock your child out. Remember that children like to explore. You need to explain to them the dangers of leaving you so that they do not wander. If the situation arises that you need to carry your child you will have to find a way to carry the child, their bag, and your bag. 

Each member of the household should have their own "go-bag," including children. Let your children visit playgrounds often so they build the muscle structure needed to carry their bag on a long journey. At ages four to six-ish, they won't be able to walk very far or carry very much. For them five to eight pounds is a heavy load. At around ten a child is able to carry about ten to twenty pounds, depending on the child's muscle structure. One idea you might employ is switching out their heavy gear in their pack for the light gear in your pack. The only problem with that would be what if you get separated. Remember that water is very heavy. Give them a camel pack and you carry the bulk of the water. They key is to let them grow their muscles through play

It is always a good idea to carry a "cheer up" item, something that will keep them happy and energized. This item should be something they love the most, for many kids that is tech or candy. However, it could be a favorite teddy bear or blanket. In a survival situation you will want to conserve tech batteries, but if you are out leisurely hiking it is a great way to get your child to finish out the hike without being carried home. Children can usually go a lot further than they think, these cheer up items can help incentivize them to do so. 

Children grow out of shoes a lot but you should still invest in a quality pair of hiking boots for them. If they are getting blisters, they will not be moving very far. If you can't afford it, look for local exchanges. Save them and hand them down to younger siblings. If you have to evacuate, bring a pair of boots that are the next size up for your child. 

Their are many opinions about what age is appropriate for a child to start learning to use a firearm. This largely depends upon the amount of preparation you have instilled in the child. Start with a nerf gun and teach proper gun handling etiquette from day one. Then advance the child to a b.b. gun to a air rifle and pistol and then into a .22 caliper. Safety and trust are the most important things the child must master to be able to handle a firearm. If you are not comfortable with them shooting, they can always reload weapons.

Self-defense principles can be taught straight away. Even a very young child is capable of attacking soft targets. They can be taught to kick and scream, buying them time or drawing the attention of others. 

Give the children tasks so they feel like productive parts of society. Younger children can gather materials but you don't want them getting lost. Make sure they are kept in pairs or small groups. Older children can be of use hunting small game and making traps. Teach your children the tasks you want them to do and they will be able to do it. Include them in your plans and share it with them. Prepare them now so they know what to do when the time comes!


Blake Alma

Blake Alma is an award-winning writer, TV & radio host, and published author. He is also the founder/editor at The Art of an Outdoorsman and editor-in-chief at Survivalist Daily. He hosts and produces The Outdoorsman's Art Radio Show and The Outdoor Experience on Hunt Channel. Blake loves and pursues the outdoors and its Creator with all that he has. Some of Blake's favorite outdoor activities include survival, trapping, hunting, fishing, and camping.
Sara F. Hathaway
Sara F. Hathaway is the author of the The Changing Earth Series: Day After Disaster and Without Land. She also hosts The Changing Earth Podcast which blends her fictional stories with educational survival tips. Sara grew up in the country where she developed a profound interest in the natural world around her. After graduating with honors from The California State University of Sacramento with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, she launched into a career in business management. In her fictional novels her research and experience with survival techniques and forgotten life-sustaining methods of the generations past come to the forefront in a action packed adventures. She has used her background in business management to pave new roads for fictional authors to follow and she delights in helping other achieve the same success. She currently lives with her husband and two sons in California where she is at work on the sequel to her first two novels. For more information and a free copy of “The Go-Bag Essentials” featuring everything you need to have to leave your home in a disaster visit: www.authorsarafhathaway.com
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Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Boat Bugout

Episode 125: Season 4 ep. 1

The Battle for the South begins as Erika and Vince voyage down the Mississippi Sea. Bugging out in a boat is a common idea and here to discuss it today is Ellen Kerr, Leading Seaman in the Australian Royal Navy.


Listen to the Audio Podcast




Featured Quote:

"We are Americans. We have the right to defend ourselves from all threats, both foreign and
domestic."

Subscribe to The Changing Earth Podcast

Boat Bugout Lessons from Ellen

There are many benefits to bugging out in a boat. There will be less people choosing to use the water highways. You may have access to the ocean. You can use the flow of water and conserve on traditional fuel types. Finally, you will have access to game that is coming down to the water for a drink.

There are a few types of boats that you could choose for your bug out vessel. Aluminum is a good option. It is a light weight boat that is durable and can easily be repaired. However, aluminum boats can be bulky and vibrate a lot under power. Their seats offer little comfort. They can be hard on the body and get hot as well.

A rubber boat is another option. You can deflate them and they are easily repairable. A rubber boat is lightweight and easy to carry when it is inflated. When it is deflated, however, it can be heavy and hard for one person to carry. They damage easily and you will have to adhere to limited weight restrictions.

The final option Ellen presented is fiberglass. These boats are fast and provide a softer ride. However, they are heavy and not easy to repair. Plus, they damage easily.

What type of boat you choose will depend on your situation. A kayak is another viable option. However you will have to meet a very strict weight requirement. If you do not, the boat will ride very sluggishly and may even capsize, jeopardizing your gear.

Whatever you choose you will need to practice with the boat. Know how many people you will be carrying plus how much gear. Practice maneuvering the boat with the total weight present in the boat.

Propulsion method is the next thing you will need to decide upon. A fuel motor provides for a fast get away if you need it. You can cover a lot of ground quickly with this motor and the smaller ones don't require a lot of fuel. They make your boat very maneuverable at high speeds and you can carry larger loads. However, fuel engines are often heavy and awkward to carry if you need to bring it ashore. You have fuel storage limitations and it produces smoke and a lot of noise.

*Sound will carry further over water. Loud engine noises and voices will be heard from much farther away!

An electric motor could be an alternate means of propulsion. They are lightweight and easy to carry ashore. They make very little noise and the batteries can be recharged (the batteries can also be re-purposed once on shore). However, you will need to carry a solar charger for the batteries adding more weight to you total weight allotment. Electric engines are slow and can't carry too heavy of a load.

Of course you could just use paddles and oars as your means of propulsion. They are silent and very easy to make. However, they are slower and require physical exertion from the user. The boat will be challenging to maneuver with paddles and oars. It is highly suggested that you carry a fuel engine as a backup for use in tactical retreats.

You could also depend upon the flow of the water as propulsion. You won't have to use your paddles as much but you will have a difficult time returning up the river.

There are a lot of considerations to take into account when you are choosing the boat and propulsion method that will be right for you:
  • Type of waterway
  • Ultimate destination - specific bug out location or nomadic lifestyle? How long will your trip to your bug out location take? Stock appropriately and know where you will be stopping along the way.
  • Are there man made barriers along your route? How will you handle them?
*Recon your route in all seasons and types of weather. Know the hazards and possible beaching spots. Print out a map and mark the hazards, beaching spots, and all other points of interest on the map. Laminate this document and keep it in the boat.

  • How much gear will you be taking? Do you have supplies stored at your bug out location?
  • How many people will you be taking?
  • Know and respect the max weight of your craft.
  • What's upstream? Will the water become contaminated? If so you probably don't want to be drinking or eating fish from it. 
  • Are you traveling in fresh or salt water? Will that change somewhere along the way? If so you will have to have a way to desalinate salt water.
  • Where are the game areas?
  • Does the waterway flow through a major town?
  • What are the possible ambush points along your route?
Security is always essential. People will be heading to waterways as a means of personal survival, both coastal and inland. If you plan on bugging out to "your private island" that only you know about. Think again. In all likelihood many other people also consider that island "their personal island that only they know about." Make certain you know it is safe and look for others heading your way. Choose a sparsely populated area to be in. Also, other people are going to have boats and their intentions may not always be innocent. Try to save your motor power until you really need it.

In a boat there is not a lot of cover if another boat or someone from the shore decided to open fire on you. You can do things like spiking the side of your boat so it can't be boarded but you are in a boat. It is easy to put a bullet through it and sink it. They may also target your engine. It will be best to travel at night, using only paddles, oars, an electric motor, or the flow of the water. Be very quiet, your voice will carry further. If someone tries to use multiple boats to coral you, that is when you need to use your fuel motor to get out of there as soon as possible. Going ashore for food will also be very tricky because other survivors may be claiming the riverbanks. Be ready for anything.

Another serious consideration is knowing whether or not you get motion sickness. If you do, you need to address that well ahead of time. Stock up on the meds to keep your head straight. Vomiting will dehydrate you at a time when it could be a life or death condition.

On the water you are going to be exposed to severe weather conditions. Wind can make your time on the water absolutely miserable. The water itself can turn treacherous and your body will be chapped and raw. The wind can move you off course, requiring a lot of fuel to correct it. The unpredictability of the weather on the water is a serious threat. It can go from sunshine and roses to hellish conditions in a matter of moments. If you don't have a top on your boat, you will be exposed to the sun, wind, and rain. A tarp can provide limited protection and you can use it to collect rain water.

The costs of a boat are going to depend upon a lot of variables as well. You have to consider the cost of the physical equipment itself: the boat, propulsion method, and trailer. Then you have to consider the maintenance costs of the motor, boat and trailer. Fresh water is tough on equipment but salt water is even worse. You will need an emergency gear bag for the boat: an EPIRB (Emergency Positioning Indicating Radio Beacon), emergency beacon, flares, balers, life jackets, etc. You will also need spare motor parts: spark plugs, impeller, propellers, etc. Tools for maintenance will be another weight in your boat. You should stock repair kits and extra fuel. If your engine is a two stroke you will also need oil to mix with the gas. Don't mix them until you need them. The oil will make the gas go bad quicker. Additionally, you could add fuel additives to your regular fuel to make it last longer.


Ellen Kerr

Born in 1980 in Australia, Ellen Louis Kerr, has been married for 16 years to her wonderful spouse, Brian. They have two daughters Miriam and Emma. Plus, 2 spoiled cats, 2 ducks, 1 budgie and two lizards. (What is a budgie you ask? A budgie is a native Australian Bird short for budgerigar. They are a popular pet in Australia.)
Ellen joined the Royal Australian Navy in 2003 and served for fourteen years. She has earned the rank of Leading Seaman and is an Electronic Warfare Director at sea. When she's on the shore she works in the field of electronic intelligence. Ellen was deployed to the Persian Gulf in 2005 as part of the allied task force on board HMAS Darwin for which she is now recognized as a veteran. She has also deployed to and took part in numerous exercises in New Zealand, Hawaii and South East Asia.
In her spare time she practices Hapkido and works on staying prepared for whatever may come our way. Ellen enjoys camping, fishing, shooting and four wheeling. She loves SIFI and end of the world genre material. Her favorite TV show is Firefly. She loves her ducks and motorbikes.

Sara F. Hathaway
Sara F. Hathaway is the author of the The Changing Earth Series: Day After Disaster and Without Land. She also hosts The Changing Earth Podcast which blends her fictional stories with educational survival tips. Sara grew up in the country where she developed a profound interest in the natural world around her. After graduating with honors from The California State University of Sacramento with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, she launched into a career in business management. In her fictional novels her research and experience with survival techniques and forgotten life-sustaining methods of the generations past come to the forefront in a action packed adventures. She has used her background in business management to pave new roads for fictional authors to follow and she delights in helping other achieve the same success. She currently lives with her husband and two sons in California where she is at work on the sequel to her first two novels. For more information and a free copy of “The Go-Bag Essentials” featuring everything you need to have to leave your home in a disaster visit: www.authorsarafhathaway.com
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Monday, December 4, 2017

Top Three 2017 Christmas Gifts


Number one on my list of gifts I would love to receive, if I didn't already have one is the TOPS Knives Tahoma Field Knife. I bought this sweet a$$ knife in Arizona this last spring and fell instantly in love. It is composed of 1095 high quality steel. Its considerable size makes it useful as a machete or hand knife. It is double bladed for about three inches down the knife making it proficient at stabbing as well. It has a built in handle for a bow drill, used for starting fires in the bush. It also features a steel pry area on the handle so you don't break the tip off, doing something stupid. I'm in love with this knife and for $160 bucks you can't go wrong.

Number two on my list of things I would love to receive, if I didn't already have one, is the Alexapure Pro Stainless Steel Water Filtration System. I've written about the Alexapure before. This bad boy will filter five thousand gallons of water before you have to change the filter. It is very durable and requires no electricity or power to filter your water. You can leave it on the counter for everyday use or take it with you camping and filter water from the lake. Great investment and replacement filters are reasonably priced as well.

Number three on my list of things I would love for Christmas, if I didn't already have it, is of course, The Changing Earth Series. Books are a great thing to give as a gift at the Holidays and who wouldn't love an apocalyptic read to pick you up when your feeling down. Now, you can go over to Amazon and find my books there but you are going to get ripped off. If you go over to my website or go to Lulu.com you can get the best deal on the internet for all four books. If you really want to impress your loved one feel free to contact me and request signed copies, but you better hurry up because time is a ticking. Yes, I am going to charge you for the books and shipping and handling but just imagine the look on your loved ones face when they open up the book and see that personalized signature written just for them. They will love you for your gift. As an added bonus, you get a gift as well.  You are going to enjoy hours of peace and quiet as they pour through the pages immersed in the story.

Have a Merry Apocalyptic Christmas!