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We Sleep At Night Because America's Armed Forces, Police and Fire Fighters Never Do

Project Type: Bill's Non Fiction

HAVE KEYBOARD, WILL TRAVEL, Author Fundamentals Volume 1 – coming Sept. 14, 2020

How one guy crafted a #1 Best Seller with only a computer, a bunch of dogs and coffee…and so much more.

 

Newly revised and re-written for 2020, the award-winning author of the smash hit series’ The Last Brigade, The Time Wars, Sharp Steel & High Adventure, Task Force Zombie and Hit World, reveals his 40-year odyssey to overnight success with a thriving career as a novelist, military historian and active membership in the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

The weather was sunny and warm, the coffee fresh, the dogs quiet for once and the reference book Bill needed for the day’s work lay open to the appropriate page. Life was good. Nothing gave him any inkling that he was about to do something he hadn’t done in twenty years, namely, write fiction. (You thought it was ‘pass up a chocolate doughnut,’ didn’t you?)

But that’s what happened. (The career, not the doughnut.)

Eight months after finishing the first draft of a brand new Military Sci-Fi series, Bill sold thousands and thousands of copies, while having to learn the brave new world of 21st Century Publishing. And if he did it, you certainly can, too.

Query letters, literary agents, twitter events, facebook, they’re all here as he learned all about publishing in the age of Indies, Amazon, and social media. Part memoir, part biography, part How-To-Sell and part cookbook. (That last might not be true.) Along the way he learned some very hard lessons, which he shares here in all their gory glory.

The only regret he has about this book is that there aren’t any talking ducks. That would have been cool.

THE LAST ATTACK

The Last Attack: Sixth SS Panzer Army and the defense of Hungary and Austria in 1945 (World War Two: Beyond the Myths)

Following defeat in the Ardennes Offensive, Adolf Hitler and the German leadership faced the question of how best to use what little offensive firepower remained to them, as represented by the Sixth SS Panzer Army. Hitler’s obsession with protecting the last source of natural oil available to the Reich compelled this decision, one made against the strong opposition of his military advisers. The resulting offensive, code-named Operation Spring Awakening, was a disaster for Nazi Germany, but a boon for postwar Europe. Heavily outnumbered and lacking supplies, especially fuel, the Sixth SS Panzer Army nevertheless delayed the Red Army long enough for American and British forces to occupy much of western and southern Austria. There is, therefore, a strong likelihood the presence in Austria of Sixth SS Panzer Army saved that country from being overrun completely by the Red Army, and possibly being included in the Warsaw Pact as a Soviet satellite.

America at War – Part One – WHY WE FIGHT

This long essay is part one of a longer work written for an academic audience, but which might have value for others interested in military history and the root causes of war. The works cited in the essay can be provided, if there is interest.

Ruins of the Charleston, S.C., railroad station, 1865.

 

 

What factors can make an individual or a nation decide to go to war?

 

“What is the force that compels a man to risk his life day after day, to endure the constant tension, the fear of death…the steady loss of his friends? What can possess a rational man to make him act so irrationally?” (McPherson, page 5) What force, indeed, can compel men to put their lives at risk? The question seems to have an endless list of answers. “This is experience lived at its most intense, this is issues of justice and injustice at their most stark. This is politics at its most vivid. This is life at its most extreme.” (Unidentified speaker, Reporting America at War, Part 1)

There are four general categories of factors into which motives for going to war might be assigned, be they individual or national: economic, political, conquest (military expansion) and humanitarian. Breaking down the factors for war into four categories is a generality used for purposes of discussion. Each of the four have various secondary reasons; ‘military expansion’, for example, might involve a pre-emptive attack to forestall an attack. Such was one of the justifications for  the Iraqi War. ‘Economic’ might mean trade or tariffs, or it could mean an attempt to grab needed natural resources, the primary factor behind the Japanese decision to attack the United States. Then there could be a secondary factor, like finally creating the veneer of humanitarianism with the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, which was nothing more than “tightening up the economic and political and military ties with China” (Sevareid, Japan Invades China- Crisis in the Far East) and was, in reality, “a propaganda gimmick”. (Professor Akira Iriye, Japan Invades China: Crisis in the Far East)

Comparison of RAMESSES III’s SEA PEOPLE’S INSCRIPTIONS & THE PRISM OF SENNACHERIB

While the two inscriptions differ somewhat in style and viewpoint, reflecting the two monarchs’ differing positions in their respective societies, the similarities in the two inscriptions stress the kinship in how kings used divine authority to reinforce the power of their stations. There are subtle differences within them as to the nature of this divine support, however.

The inscriptions of Ramesses III begin with a recounting of the danger facing Egypt, emphasizing the power and scope of the enemy, a coalition that had overrun many parts of the known world and, presumably, seemed irresistible at the time. By stressing, or even exaggerating, the threat of invasion, this viewpoint makes the Ramesses’ ultimate victory all the more impressive. The listing of exactly who the Sea Peoples were is also invaluable for fitting Ramesses’ war with them into a larger context, portraying the foe as a conquering horde that was defeated by his personal greatness. It is not until the second paragraph that mention is made of the pharaoh’s divine nature, and even then it is only made in passing. “Now the heart of this god, the Lord of the Gods, was prepared and ready to ensnare them like birds…”  The assumption is clear that Ramesses expects each of his subjects to recognize his divine heritage without having to be told, therefore there is no need to beat them over the head with the point. This is a telling point about Egyptian society in and of itself, that the power and majesty of the Pharaoh was so ingrained as to make it unnecessary to dwell on the matter. It should also be noted that the commemorated event occurs in the eighth year of the reign of Ramesses III, harkening back to the epic times of his famous predecessor Ramesses II, a period when the perception of Pharaonic power and greatness would have been very high. Only in the last sentence does Ramesses make overt use of his divine authority as the reason for his victory, and the inclusion seems almost perfunctory, like an obligatory addition.  “…for I am on the ways of the plans of the All-Lord, divine father, the Lord of the Gods”.

Essay – Was British imperialism in the nineteenth century more the product of political and strategic interests or of economic considerations?

“…the Pax Britannica rested largely on economic and political foundations…”  Walter L. Arnstein

British imperialism of the nineteenth century was fueled by economic considerations, with political and strategic interests adapting themselves to the requirements of this primary motive.  From the earliest days of empire in North America, commerce had been the underlying motivation for England’s colonization efforts. In time, the engine of England’s economy drove almost every aspect of her national life, and also became her chief vulnerability. Throughout the later history of England, when her enemies attacked her it was chiefly through her economy. Destroy her trade and you would destroy England; such was the conclusion of conquerors from Napoleon to Hitler. Is it any wonder, then, that during her imperial phase England sought to reinforce this greatest of assets?

Early English Parliament

The term ‘parliament’ originally meant an informal meeting of indeterminate size. From this early definition it grew into the legislative assembly known today. The escalation of that evolution began with Magna Carta in 1215, drawn up by England’s magnates to codify laws and the rights of the individual and signed by King John. Although King John quickly reneged on his agreement, after several revisions an altered version became law in 1225. Magna Carta is translated as The Great Charter.

The 1215 version of Magna Carta had put forth the idea of voluntary taxation; that is, those being taxed would have to give their consent. But how could they physically do that? How could they vote on such a thing? By a gathering, a meeting, a ‘parliament.’ Cut out of the 1217 version, this idea was reinforced by Hubert de Burgh in 1225 when, during the minority of Henry III, he called together a parliament of nobles to ask for one-fifteenth of their movable goods as tax, implicitly supporting the concept of voluntary tax. And to arrange for a voluntary tax a parliament would be necessary.

A brief look at the rise of English common law

After centuries of law being kept by custom and tradition, the common law of England evolved and became something new. The influences on these customs and traditions were many, from the Romans to the Vikings and then the Normans, and what was law in one place was not necessarily law in another.  But the era of legal reform that began in 1066 reflected the English desire to impose order on their world, to categorize and regulate what they could, including law. Following the Battle of Hastings and the Norman Conquest, English law began to evolve into what would eventually become common law. King Henry II actively tried to emulate his grandfather, Henry I, and when he took over as king he gained a kingdom with a confusing system of courts and laws. There was the Royal Court, the exchequer courts, the local (shire) courts, courts for the hundred, that divided the shires into smaller geographic units, the courts of the barons and the courts of the Church. Needless to say, jurisdiction could be a problem and the application of the existing laws was uneven at best.

How the Tudors changed England

The underlying doctrine of the Tudor state was that some men were born to rule, and the rest to be ruled. This was how God set things up and this is how they would be. The Tudors, of course, were the chosen people to lead. And the leaders of this state, the heroes and writers and rulers and legends, may have visualized themselves as actors on a stage, performing their roles for God and country. How else to explain the otherwise inexplicable Tudor State? How could a state that destroyed Catholicism and beheaded queens because they did not give the king heirs and hanged people for witchcraft and burned others at the stake for ‘wrong’ religious beliefs, when ‘wrong’ changed periodically, how could this state also give us Shakespeare and Marlowe and Spencer and all of their fellow literary luminaries, or spawned such heroes as Sir Francis Drake and Sir Walter Raleigh?

The Black Death and its effects on English Society in the 14th Century

The Danse Macabre

 

With the increases in population during the thirteenth century more land needed to be farmed to feed all of the new mouths and farming was more important that ever to maintaining England’s large population. Early in the fourteenth-century famine ravaged the country, and up to 15% of the country died either from starvation, or disease caused by lack of food. Cattle died, crops failed, the weather cooled. The spring of 1315 saw flooding rains and much cooler temperatures. Grain seeds could not ripen. Straw and hay could not be cured, so livestock could not be fed. Food costs rose quickly. There was a shortage in salt, which was used to preserve what little meat there was, due to the wet weather. The peasant class faced starvation. This triggered some people’s “self-preservation instinct”. Crime became rampant and spawned reports of infanticide and cannibalism. In a nation as religious in England it must have seemed that God himself was not happy with the direction of things. Labor shortages made agriculture even harder and the government did what governments do best: got in the way. Taxes went up, wages and prices were frozen, and the Scots were pillaging in the north. Problems were on all sides, problems that influenced the governmental changes during the century. This cutback on farming and trade exports resulted in England taking control of the wool markets from German and Italian trade monopolies, creating whole new industries.

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