Category Archives for My Books – Fiction

Benjamin Franklin and Internet Publishing

Benjamin Franklin, “The First American,” would have loved the Internet. He was, first and foremost, a printer, author, and publisher. He established the Pennsylvania Chronicle firing up the Colonies against British tyranny. He made his fortune with “Poor Richard’s Almanack” and the Pennsylvania Gazette. “Almanack” sold 10,000 copies a year – equivalent to three million a year today. As a self-published author, Franklin controlled his own financial destiny.

Publishing Represents Freedom

Today’s digital publishing options hold the same lure of Freedom and Opportunity.

Publishing has shifted from faltering publishing houses to the author. Self-publishing has a significant heritage: Willa Cather, Pat Conroy, Stephen Crane, Alexander Dumas, T.S. Eliot, Zane Grey, Thomas Hardy, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Ernest Hemingway, Stephen King, Louis L’Amour, Thomas Paine, Edgar Allen Poe, Upton Sinclair, Henry David Thoreau. And Mark Twain. Unfortunately, the publishing industry is in more turmoil than the film industry. Getting an agent to read a script is absurdly difficult. Try getting one to read an 800 page manuscript. Traditional publishers offer no advance, little support and no flexibility. Remember that iTunes emerged from the Napster download world. Netflix bought Starz movies for internet streaming – labeled naive by media luminaries at the time – and now “visionary.”

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5 Tactics China Uses to Asserts Its Power in the South China Sea

China is asserting itself on the world stage but with a 21st Century strategy. Striving to resurrect its former glory as a power after a century of foreign domination, World War and Mao’s murderous Cultural Revolution, China’s socialist dictators realize that their Socialist Dictatorship must be protected to insure its capitalist survival. Conventional warfare and nuclear devastation can’t be cards to play which is how I plotted out my thriller, “Stealing Thunder” with its Chinese power grab.

So, what are China’s ‘weapons’ for the next Pacific conflict?

Nationalism. The Communists keep the anti-Japanese sentiment on low boil, cranking up the temperature as warranted. Their TV shows have plots detailing Japanese atrocities – and the Chinese victory. And today’s socialist leaders are very good at manipulating these nationalist sentiments.

In the shadow of the Senkaku island incident, on September 18, 2010, Chinese demonstrated in Beijing, Hong Kong, Shanghai and other cities to protest the 79th anniversary of the Mukden Incident. This event, where the Imperial Japanese Army dynamited a railway and blamed Chinese radicals, became Japan’s reason to invade Manchuria and China proper. The timing was perfect to jar the Japanese public – and reminder one billion Chinese about the murder of their parents or grandparents.

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China Plays Its Hand Against Japan with Conflict in the Senkaku Islands

The Communist People’s Republic of China is confronting its neighbors and the United States in the Pacific. But how strong is their muscle in the fight? And, to paraphrase John McClane from “Die Hard”, what can we do to throw a ‘monkey in the works’?

First, China is an island. Isolated by Siberia, Western Muslim lands, the Himalayas and jungles of the south, China historically kept inside its borders. The Mongols were horse riders with a bloodthirsty wanderlust, but not Chinese. China’s punitive confrontations with India and Vietnam were short-lived. A population density map of China shows coastal regions where opportunity and commerce are strongest. The central and western hinterlands are almost unpopulated. A key weakness is the economic and social disparity of its interior and the coast. China’s future lies with the sea.

 

 

Second, China’s game is to control the sea lanes, its commerce and, therefore, its neighbor’s future economic survival. But control of the sea, by its very nature, requires naval forces and constant maneuvering. A quarter of the world’s oil on the sea passes from the strategic Straits of Malacca through the South China Sea to China and the West’s allies, South Korea and Japan. These ships head through the Spratly Islands claimed by China as well as Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines and Brunei. Asian nations are waking up to the threat of Chinese domination. Sea lanes are a double edged sword. Exports are China’s life blood. Its coastal cities prospering because of overseas companies. And this commerce creates conversation, dialogue and exchanges about the world outside China with the most developed economies – and Freedoms.

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Novel: “A Cold Death: An Aristotle Witzer Mystery”

Synopsis:  In Paris, American film student Adele Longet is murdered. Aristotle Witzer, a Defense Analyst new to America’s Paris embassy, gets a late night call to get a police report. Witzer is drawn into hutning for her killer, encountering film fanatics, Catacombs lovers and scum from France’s Nazi past. In Paris Catacombs, underground rave parties blaze until dawn with ecstasy, sex and cinema as Witzer scrambles through this subterranean web – the haunt of French kings, the sanctuary for Resistance Fighters and the domain of partying ‘Cataphiles’. Who murdered Adele? Unexposed French collaborators? Drug dealers? Criminal kingpins? He can trust no one. On a hot summer night, when a famed music festival shuts down the City of Light, he searches for a drug lab with answers to Adele’s murder – and the clue to his own daughter’s kidnaping – before he loses her to “A Cold Death”.

 

China and Chess in the South China Sea

An old buddy saw chess everywhere in life. A pawn, wisely moved, may kill a King. Small stories become world-changing events. A pawn is in play between Japan, China and America over the unpopulated resource rich Senkaku Islands. Called the Daiyou Islands in China, the Senkaku lie between Japan’s Okinawa Prefecture and Taiwan. During research for my thriller, “Stealing Thunder”, I discovered that these Japanese ruled rocky outcroppings, claimed by the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and Taiwan, are a powder keg pawn between nuclear superpowers and ancient enemies.

 

On September 7th, , the fire was stoked when a PRC fishing boat ignored warnings to leave the ara and collided with Japanese patrol vessels. Japan took the crew, the captain and the ship. They released the boat and its crew but held its captain on charges and for damages.

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China’s Weapons of War

China is asserting itself on the world stage but with a 21st Century strategy. Striving to resurrect its former glory as a power after a century of foreign domination, World War and Mao’s murderous Cultural Revolution, China’s socialist dictators realize that their Socialist Dictatorship must be protected to insure its capitalist survival. Conventional warfare and nuclear devastation can’t be cards to play which is how I plotted out my thriller, “Stealing Thunder” with its Chinese power grab.

 

So, what are China’s ‘weapons’ for the next Pacific conflict?

Nationalism. The Communists keep the anti-Japanese sentiment on low boil, cranking up the temperature as warranted. Their TV shows have plots detailing Japanese atrocities – and the Chinese victory. And today’s socialist leaders are very good at manipulating these nationalist sentiments.

Continue reading

China’s Weak Hand – The Senkaku Islands

The Communist People’s Republic of China is confronting its neighbors and the United States in the Pacific. But how strong is their muscle in the fight? And, to paraphrase John McClane from “Die Hard”, what can we do to throw a ‘monkey in the works’?

First, China is an island. Isolated by Siberia, Western Muslim lands, the Himalayas and jungles of the south, China historically kept inside its borders. The Mongols were horse riders with a bloodthirsty wanderlust, but not Chinese. China’s punitive confrontations with India and Vietnam were short-lived. A population density map of China shows coastal regions where opportunity and commerce are strongest. The central and western hinterlands are almost unpopulated. A key weakness is the economic and social disparity of its interior and the coast. China’s future lies with the sea.Continue reading

China Reach with a Carrier Task Force – “Stealing Thunder” book series

The socialist People’s Republic of China is expanding its influence by refurbishing the Varyag, a Soviet era aircraft carrier, renaming it the Shi Lang. The carrier is expected to start sea trials later this year. An aircraft carrier is a strategy to project power far from the homeland. The mere presence of an aircraft carrier has far-reaching effects in the realpolitik between nations. To defend Taiwan, the United States sent aircraft carriers between the island nation and Communist China to warn against aggression. When finished, the Shi Lang is expected to be a formidable presence, especially when combined with other combatants into an anticipated Carrier Battle Group.

A report by Britain-based Jane’s Defence Weekly stated that the carrier would come equipped with phased-array radars and surface-to-air missiles, making it a more independent platform than its U.S. equivalent, which is dependent on Aegis-type guided-missile cruisers for protection. The 302-m long and 70.5-m wide carrier will have a cruising speed of between 29 and 31 knots. The carrier’s loaded displacement (weight) of 67,000 tons will enable it to host as many as 50 aircraft.

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