The Rush to World War III


The hammer sees only the nail, the sword craves blood, and the bullet yearns for a target. The world is now at the greatest risk for nuclear war at any time since the Cuban Missile Crisis. Certainly North Korea (DPRK) is a threat to stability in the region, but is it worth going to war over? Why is this happening now, and what are some solutions?

Why Now

The US goes to war when powerful interests align. Our country has a rich history of shedding blood for money, going all the way back to the American Revolution. It’s what nations do, placing the economic interests of the country ahead of human lives. It’s not pretty, but it’s a fact. From the Trail of Tears to the false flag “Remember the Maine” and on to the Gulf of Tonkin, the US has manipulated public opinion to justify wars for economic and political gains.

Remember the war in Iraq? After 9-11, the US craved (understandably) justice. When the bombs started falling in Baghdad, I’m ashamed to admit that I cheered. Intelligence supported the fact that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction. Colin Powell, whom I trusted, came on television to state this. The US went to war, and after years and as many as a million deaths, Iraq remains a quagmire. The truth of that war may never come fully to light, but we know that Cheney and Rummy believed that democracy was the answer to Middle East instability, and that by smashing Saddam’s dictatorship, the US could prop up a new government favorable to our interests. Oh, and oil. In that instance both the military industrial complex and oil companies stood to profit enormously.


Fast forward to Korea, now.

Saber rattling on both sides is nothing new. DPRK loves to issue fiery threats against the US. Little Kim is a little unhinged, that is true. But is he truly a suicidal one? If North Korea attacks the US, that regime is finished. Dictators want to remain in power, so it’s unlikely that this particular despot would go out of his way to attack the US, bringing about his certain demise.

Trump needs a war to distract the country from the investigation into his finances and possible collusion with Russia. Furthermore, the military industrial complex wants to see more spending by the federal government so they can build tanks, bombs, planes, ships, and submarines. There are trillions of dollars at stake. Wars have begun for far less.

The suspicious timeline

How is it that suddenly DPRK has miniaturized warheads? This assessment, in a story from the Post a few days ago, is based on the Defense Intellegence Agency. It’s not a consensus from all of the agencies who review intelligence. The NSA and CIA have yet to weigh in. So that abrupt assessment is suspect. Furthermore, even if DPRK has managed to miniaturize the warheads, they likely have not developed a re-entry vehicle capable of delivering the warhead to its target without burning up. Upon re-entry, the temperatures soar. As of only a few weeks ago, it was believed that North Korea was five years away from achieving these milestones.


Fear is the mind killer

The mainstream media thrives upon bad news and fear. By playing to our fears of a nuclear holocost, the march to war becomes something which the American public is more likely to accept. After all, North Korea is an “evil empire” bent on killing innocent Americans, right? The fact that Lil Kim uses bombastic rhetoric only serves to bolster the case against him.

Solutions

China remains the key. China can apply enough economic pressure to convince Lil Kim to abandon his weapons programs, at least or a time. Long term, the best solution, as insane as it sounds, is another case of mutually assured destruction. DPRK is a protectorate of China, and war with them means war with China. War with South Korea means war with the US. This would ultimately de-escalate tensions because both sides would understand the rules. Eventually, China should initiate a regime change in North Korea, propping up a government easier to manage.

Perhaps a fully staffed State Department is in order? A president who understands geopolitics?

The US faces a similar dilemma with Iran and Russia. If diplomacy fails, the alternative is unthinkable. Because World War Three is a war with no winners.

Shameless self-promotion

Finally, if you’re interested in reading about the aftermath of the next world war, please check out the WRATH series!

WRATH goes to Hollywood 


I recall those early heady days when Permuted Press offered me a contract for Objects of Wrath . They signed me to a trilogy, and paid me for two books I hadn’t even written yet. I got the advance within three weeks of signing, just days before Christmas. And, let me tell you,  it saved Christmas for my family. I had visions of family vacations in Jackson Hole and delusions of movies made. That was before reality set in, and I realized that a) the books weren’t going to sell themselves and b) Hollywood sure as hell wasn’t going to be kicking down my door.

Since then, I’ve finished four novels. Tears of Abraham, a stand-alone novel about the next Civil War, went into bookstores all over the country last year. Once again, I thought, “okay this is it.” Alas, the book died on the vine, after zero promotion and being miscategorized as science fiction (despite my vehement objections). So, after getting my hopes crushed many times, I’m jaded.
Still…

I signed an agreement last week with Council Tree Productions, a Hollywood based film and television production company helmed by veteran producer Joel Eisenberg. It’s a new company, but Joel has some juice in Hollywood, and he’s also a writer. I really look forward to working with him. The other partner in the company (also a writer) is the founder of a successful private equity firm. They invested $180 million in Telemundo, and have conducted billions in transactions. These are serious people.
What now?

After my initial dance in the street, I’m looking at more waiting, hoping, and work. Just signing with a producer is a big deal, a tremendous opportunity, but it’s far from the end of the journey.  The producer will come up with marketing materials and shop the idea to various studios. We’re hoping for a televison series with one of the streaming services like Netflix, or with cable. I’m busy writing scripts for episodes, which may or may not ever see the light of day. Once the series has the attention of a studio, things start to get interesting. The producer will attach a director, and secure financing for the project. I’m hoping for a “direct to series” deal, which is the best possible scenario. That means the first season (13 episodes) gets picked up by the studio. What’s more likely, though still statistically improbable, is that we get signed to shoot a pilot. If the show gets green-lit, that’s when the real celebration begins.

I’m anticipating something of a roller-coaster ride. Highs and lows, some near misses and dashed expectations. Hopefully, by the end of the year the project will be in development, somewhere. Even then, I won’t know until the studio green lights the series.

I’m quietly optimistic, and very grateful for this chance. My work will be in front of people who can change the trajectory of my life with a phone call, and that’s exciting. The thing is to enjoy the journey, to embrace it. Even if things don’t play out the way I hope they will, it’ll be quite the ride. And other doors may open that I can’t foresee now. I’m learning how to write for film, and that’s a fun process, a very different beast from novels.

Author update: upcoming projects

medieval-knight2016 should be a very interesting year for me! I’ll have my first book in bookstores on March 22 with the release of Tears of Abraham, a novel about the next American Civil War. I hope to generate some press and buzz with this book, as the nation continues to rip itself apart with political vitriol. I hope people read the book and come away with the feeling that we as a nation are better than what we’ve turned into.

I’ve been working hard on Fate of the Fallen, and hope to self-publish this as a series. This novel has been extremely challenging to write because of the scale and the amount of research involved. The main character is an angel with limited abilities, and the novel follows his life, alternating between the past and present. He has been a monk, a gladiator, a crusader, a scholar, and a warrior. In the present, he is trying to prevent the next apocalypse. I’m planning on releasing this book next spring or early summer, and then following it with a series of novellas.

I’m outlining for my next full length novel, and this will be a big departure for me in terms of genre. I’ve been writing “thrillers with heart.” This next book is not a thriller, but straight forward literary fiction. I can’t wait to write it. It’s called Restoration. When  Arthur Glass’s wife asks for a divorce, he purchases a hundred-year-old house in historic Riverside, Florida. He forms a deep friendship with an old lady across the street, who tells him about the history of the house, and importantly, the stories that have unfolded within the walls.

The house has been an orphanage, brothel, speakeasy, and apartment during our nation’s great wars. Love, loss, hope, tragedy and miracles have lived here, and the stories Arthur hears mirror his own character arc, filling a need in him, reminding him of things he has forgotten and also teaching things he has never known.

Chapter One
Endings and Beginnings

Arthur Glass found the old house on Oak Street on the same afternoon his wife informed him that she was pregnant and wanted a divorce. He wasn’t ready for any of it.

He pulled his pick-up truck into the cracked concrete driveway and sat behind the wheel for a moment, gazing at the two story brick home before him, his thoughts a tangle of questions and despair. He needed a place to live, and he’d always liked old houses. He could do something with the place, as long as it had good bones.

How do people do this? How do you move on with your life when your life is destroyed, when everything you love is gone and your soul is peeled away? What is there to move on to? Why?

He picked his way around the overgrown yard, contemplating the exterior of the place. He guessed it was about a hundred years old, as many of the buildings in this part of Jacksonville were. “Historic Riverside,” was its moniker, an eclectic neighborhood where artists, professionals and vagabonds blended together. The streets were lined with majestic live oak trees, Spanish moss hanging down lush and lazy, a certain energy here he’d always liked.

The house sat on a dead end, and behind it was sprawling, shady Boone Park, the yard and park coming seamlessly together. The second floor boasted two columned porches overlooking the street and the park. Oaks, cedars, rose bushes and sago palms giving the grounds a wild, lush feel. Mocking birds twittered among the leaves, and on the steps a surly orange cat bestowed him with a baleful glare.

How did I not see this coming? Who is the father?

He used a credit card to pop the lock on the back door and stepped inside. The smell of mildew and age hit him and he took this in stride. Original hardwood floors, faded and worn creaked under his feet while he wandered from room to room. Plaster walls, some with ragged holes and all in dire need of paint. An old fireplace with a carved wooden mantle in the living room, two small bedrooms, a dining room, and a kitchen that looked like it popped out of Norman Rockwell’s imagination back in the fifties.

He wondered what stories had unfolded here over the years, what whispers these walls overheard.

He walked up a narrow staircase to the second floor, realizing that this was actually an apartment; each floor had a separate entrance. If he’d come here at any different time of day, perhaps things would have been different.
The late afternoon sun streamed through tall windows and filled the living room with golden October light, piercing the veil of decay and obsolescence with a kind of hope and warmth, inviting and serene. He could see this room filled with her canvasses and brushes and colors, alive with her laughter while she painted, dancing to Van Morrison, long dark hair cascading down her shoulders and blue eyes bright with creative mischief and something deeper, a peaceful sort of longing and truth. The way she used to look at him, but hadn’t in years.

She would love this room. Would have, he corrected himself. He had to think that way, and he knew it, but it was too soon and raw. He got it, though. Saw the truth even though it burned and always would and there was no way not to face it, here in that room with perfect light where the things he wished for were translucent dreams transposed onto empty spaces, emotional holograms bereft touch and feel. Delusions of simple grandeur that life boldly stated could never be.

Ghosts of tomorrow, that’s what they looked like to Arthur, and he could see them and it hurt to see.

Love is a contradiction, for it is beauty, promise and light until it turns, and when it turns, it’s quick and mean and dark and deadly and sucks everything in. A black hole birthed like an abomination from what was once a brilliant star, now hungry, relentless and devouring even the light which tries to escape it. Love is destruction. A force of nature implacable and cruel which obliterates what it does not tolerate: objects at rest, and things which have outlived their usefulness.

She says she loves me but isn’t ‘in love’ with me. What does that even mean? God, what happened to us?

Stepping into the room with the gold light spreading on empty spaces sealed his fate, for he knew at that moment that he was going to buy the place.

Love is restoration.

 

Other good news

Children of Wrath and Wrath and Redemption have both been picked up by audible, so they will be available soon in audio format. That’s great news, because Objects of Wrath did pretty well as an audio book.

Also, the entire Wrath trilogy will be distributed by Simon & Schuster next year, meaning that I’ll have the ability to have that in bookstores around the country.http://www.amazon.com/Objects-Wrath-Volume-Sean-Smith/dp/1618682245

 

Free short story: Sand

kelli at the end

Sand

1

The ocean this morning is that special blue, deeper than any color can be alone, truer than the sun playing golden on easy waves, warm and inviting. The sweet breeze and the singing feeling in my chest and the taste of salt and life and the way light and shadows dance against a vast horizon are all part of one color.

I am an artist, feeling what I see, seeing what I feel, and right now in this moment I have discovered a new color. Hope.

Standing in the surf, hard packed sand beneath painted toes and wind tossing my long hair, hope embraces me, a brilliant color and emotion I have yearned to find. There is freedom and forgiveness and exhilaration in it, but it is more than those things, for it is akin to explaining the sunrise to a blind woman or the joy and pain of childbirth to a man. There are some things that only make sense with color and context.
Henry launches himself into a wave, laughing and carefree and seven, bursting with light and potential, and I am filled with joy and gratitude as I gaze upon my son, and for a moment a cloud passes overhead and there is regret mingled with wonder at his resilience and my own.

“Momma, did you see that? That wave almost got me. It didn’t though.”

“I saw, honey. You beat that wave.”
“Look out,” he shouts, grinning with his hands in the air. “Here comes a big one. Get ready.”

Yeah. I know about that.

Behind us, the castle surrenders to the water, walls sliding into the sea, a work of art doomed to memory from its inception because it was built in the only place it could have been with the materials at hand: Hope and love and sand.
#
I saw something in him when I first laid eyes on him, and part of me still wonders about that. Doubts my sanity. That’s a man, I thought. Tall and handsome and cocky, a guitar on his back and a searching kind of loneliness in his eyes at the same time. A road trip with some girlfriends to Panama city with a detour to Nashville cast ripples I never could have imagined. Probably we should have gone to the beach.

I’m from a little shithole southern town where everybody knows everybody, even though they never really do. They think they do, and make up lies to fill in the blanks. Don’t get me started. That’s a whole separate ball of wax. It’s part of it, though. Part of why I stayed when I should have left after things went like they did. There is hope now, and for me back then in those hard years between the folds, I saw hope in that guy with a guitar and wounded eyes and silver words.

You work with what you’ve got, and sometimes it’s sand. You build where you can, and if it’s the damn beach, then that’s better for the moment than anywhere else if that’s the only place you think you can build.

Worse, if that’s where you want to make something lasting even though you know better, because there is that thing that you can’t explain to anyone with a brain, including yourself. That love and passion and color and self-delusion wrapping around each other in a heady mix of blue sky and Cinderella and faith and kisses.

There are hotel rooms where people to this day cannot go because of us. We fucked like wild animals and it was glorious, mattresses askew and cushions on the floor and people calling the front desk. It was like that; that was the good part, the beginning, that thing that was real in its own way but painfully elusive in the life I eventually lived. The life we lived for a damn decade.

I wasn’t happy where I was when I met him, raging against the small town and small minds and big egos, and there was this huge man with song and gentle touch. A caress and a look around the eyes that unlocked parts of me I didn’t want to face, but which ignited a tingle and desire and a longing for something I’d almost given up on believing could be real. I wanted to believe. I truly did. I was divorced, he was divorced. I had a boyfriend, he had a girlfriend. We lived 550 miles apart…here we go.

I should go back and slap myself upside the head, but it’s a little late for that. I try to tell my daughters not to make the same mistakes I did, and I pray they hear my plea. They likely haven’t learned the things I wished they would, the right lessons that could have been lived and not said, and it makes me sad still.

That son of a bitch. The man I loved destroyed me and he hurt everyone I loved. There was darkness in me and surrender because I didn’t see anything else.

I am better than that. I remain undefeated, and with the sky true and the ocean sweet, I feel it. He was my enemy, implacable in the way of the tide claiming a castle built upon the sand. He did what he did, hurting and acting and reacting. Hurting me. Harming our family. The tide has no choice, serving the moon, but he made choices the ocean never has. Later, I made choices too. I don’t have many regrets. He can keep those.

The bitterness in my heart devoured me, and that I lay at his feet. That he fell in love with me for a second time when I wasn’t in love with him doesn’t matter anymore. I’d already moved on before I moved on, he just didn’t see it. Truth is often painful but always worth the price, even when it’s paid in heartache.divorce-2

I am a woman, a mother, and an artist, and my past does not define me. I fought like hell to get here to this moment and feel these colors. I earned this ocean and this light. I paid the price with tears and years and parts of me I should never have surrendered.sand3

I hear a laugh behind me, a joyous hearty thing, and I spin, my toes digging in the sand and the sun on my face and smile at the man I love and want to spend the rest of my life with.
He is not the same man I built castles in the sand with.

And that makes all the difference.
2

Dawn comes slow and warm, the surf an easy whisper on the beach. Lying on my back beneath a sand dune, the sky is turning from black to gunmetal gray, becoming something new, painted with swirls of pink and orange until the sun breaks on the horizon. I’ve always loved to watch the sun rise; it’s a wondrous transformation, as darkness surrenders to light. A kind of rebirth which only comes through time.sand2

Endings are really beginnings; I often forget that. I remember it now.

The fresh sea breeze soothes my soul and there is the taste of salt and the coming sun on my lips mingled with peace. The kind of peace you don’t know you need until you find it again and see how much you’ve been missing it.

I am a writer, and I’ve sacrificed much at the altar of love. The love of words, and the love of a woman.

Maybe that’s how it had to be.
#
Sometimes when you meet the love of your life you know it right away; that’s how it goes in the movies. It wasn’t like that for me.I didn’t know it until it was too late.

I met her in Nashville years ago, rebounding and hurting and she helped heal me. Made me feel loved and safe. There was a whirlwind romance with this unlikely woman from the deep south with wild hair and blue eyes and a hunger in her I found intensely desirable. Within six months of divorcing my previous wife of many years, I found myself married again, an expectant father and stepfather of two girls, living far from home in a new town.
I wanted to be that guy. I really did. I wanted to believe.

I wasn’t ready to meet her, but it happened the way it did and went to hell from there. I hung on through kids and demons and heart break, inflicting my own upon the way. Resentment grew in that void and bitterness festered. There were actions and reactions until it was impossible to know what was true and what was false. It’s not an uncommon story, and I wish I’d written a better one for my life, mine and her’s.

We hung onto eachother and our children through years of quiet desperation. Clinging to the hope that one day things would change, that light would break through the looming clouds and we would feel that shine on our hearts again. That God would bring purpose and healing to us together, not individually. To our family. That our faith would sustain us.
It happened for me, but it never did for her. I only thought it did.hourglass

On a perfect day right before the blue sky fell, the sun was gold dust glittering on the water and in the air and we were a family. I recall the sense of wonder and glory, savoring that moment with my children in the waves, holding hands with my wife, a deep gratitude and awe in me that things were good. I can wrap those memories around me now and hold them tight

Just because we wish a thing to be true does not make it so.

I defined myself as a father and a husband and an author, and it’s been a process to remake my life and my existence. I will always be a dad, and being away from my boys for any time has wounded both me and them. I’ll always be a writer, too and I embrace that part of me. Words don’t keep you warm at night, though, don’t hold you when you are crushed.

She was my muse and best friend, inspiring me, making me a better man and better author. It’s an anguished thing to loose, knowing that that has faded away. I hope forgiveness finds me. For the moment, there is peace. There is hope in the growing light.

The tide eats the beach and blue waves claim the sand as they have forever, and when the wind blows right and the ocean calms, the sand blows up onto the rolling dunes and the beach is born again.

The sky is bright now and I turn away with a certain wistful sadness; I’ve got pages to write. Later, I’ll come back with my boys and we’ll build a sand castle. The memories will remain long after my footprints are gone, and they will be true and good.

The End

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http://www.amazon.com/Objects-Wrath-Book-1-ebook/dp/B00IK7MH9M/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

A Few Good Sentences

Readers often ask me about my creative process, so here’s a general snapshot of how I write.

I’m a slow writer compared to most of my peers. I’m not sure I could crank out a book in three months, and if I did that it would be unreadable. I know authors who crank out four good books a year. I’ll never have that sort of output.

It all begins with an idea

I tend to marinate on several ideas at once, before deciding what I’m going to write. I’ll make notes on legal pads, bar napkins, and the back of company notebooks. Once I’ve got a general idea of the topic, then I move onto characters. With Objects of Wrath,
I began with the idea of a family struggling to survive the next world war.

I sketch the main character first, and then surround him with the surrounding cast. Often at this point, I don’t know enough about the story to fill in the details, but I like to have a general idea.

Next comes the broad outline. This is only a few pages long, with enough space in there to add things. I use a legal pad, and I draw a diagram of a suspension bridge. The high points are the big scenes in the middle and the climax, and the lines in between are the rising action, the building tension. Sometimes I’ll actually use one full page for this diagram, and divide the rising action into specific chapter ideas. The point of this diagram is that I want to have a general idea of what I’m writing towards. It sounds simplistic because it is. But it is very helpful to me in terms of pacing.

The next thing I do is write a first chapter, just to get a feel for the characters. So far, a surprisingly big chunk of my first chapters have made it to the final manuscript. I go back later on and move things around, and work especially hard on the first fifty pages, but the bones are there.

Storytelling

I tend to plot out a few chapters ahead of time as I’m writing. For me this is the best part of writing books. I have notebooks crammed with ideas, where I just let things rip. “What if…” and then I’ll try that idea out, often in paragraph form.  One idea leads to another, and I’ll end up with various branching plot lines.

When I’m in this mode, I can write unfettered, and it is where I probably do my best work. It’s here that characters start to misbehave in good ways. A minor character becomes important, while a character that I’d planned on keeping alive has to die. I’ll stumble upon an idea that lights me up, and spend a few hours writing one paragraph working to get it right.

I alternate back and forth when I’m writing a novel, between storytelling mode, and the actual pounding out the words at the keyboard.

Here are a few random examples of paragraphs or sentences I worked very hard on.

From Objects of Wrath: http://www.amazon.com/Objects-Wrath-Volume-Sean-Smith/dp/1618682245

“I had seen Gunny in action, had been trained by him, and knew how quick and deadly he was, but Chilli was an artist in his prime form, painting death with deft strokes. With perfect economy of motion he dispatched a seemingly unending supply of enemies in an unrivaled masterpiece of destruction. I hacked and shot behind him through the smoke, and despite the chaos, I marveled at Chilli’s artwork. His canvas was the battlefield, and he was the Rembrandt of the knife, painting darkness, not light. He was the Picasso of the blade, leaving twisted corpses in his wake, his hands and feet brushes that flicked out almost delicately, precisely, colorfully”

From Children of Wrath http://www.amazon.com/Children-Wrath-Book-Volume/dp/1618683411/ref=pd_bxgy_14_img_y

“Most of us are blessed with a moment when sunlight is gold dust, warm and glittering, and the air is clean and tastes like hope. Sometimes we pay attention, savor the sweetness and are glad of it. Too often, we realize the rareness of it too late to revel in the glory of it. Looking back, though, we know the moment. That’s the yearning and the hurt later, because the memory is not the time, it is an echo. There is no way to feel exactly that way again, you can only recall the wholeness of it, remember the preciousness. My moment was long and my soul sings with the echoes I hear, but by the time we began our assault on Dugway, my moment had already passed.”

From Tears of Abraham, coming in March 2016

abraham cover final

“Stand up for yourself,” his father had said when Henry walked home with a bloody nose again. Henry’s old man, Tim Wilkins peered down at Henry. A tall, rangy man with a straight back, pale blue eyes, and a face worn out by life, Tim Wilkins was not prone to overt displays of affection or sympathy. But he was the center of Henry’s universe.
In Henry’s eyes then, his father was granite, solid rock, unbreakable, unchangeable, and strong in the way of a proud mountain. The lens of hope and faith filtered out the cracks and fissures, the broken blood vessels on Papa’s wind burned face, and the hurting eyes of a man eroded, but not yet completely worn smooth. Blasted by hard years, bad luck, and the love for the wrong woman, Papa remained undefeated.”

From Fate of the Fallen, my work in progress:

“Religion, Malak reasoned, would be at the heart of it. Money and power led to war between men. Religion could destroy mankind. Sometimes money and power were the religion, the worship of those things, by men who held armies on a leash. The worst of it was when money, power, and religion all combined. At the end of the day, it was always some kind of religion.”

Savoring the process

I love writing, whether it’s a song or a novel. I relish the entire process, and enjoy lingering over a passage, turning the words over, shifting things around to find a cadence and melody to the words. Some readers find this aspect of my writing a hinderence, and I understand that many folks want to read an adrenaline-driven book that’s primarily plot-driven. There’s nothing wrong with that, and I enjoy books like that  sometimes. The older I get, though, the more I want some real substance to the things I read and the things I write. I love Steinbeck, Hemingway, Dickens, McCarthy, Irving and O’brien. I’ve got a long way to go before I can attain that level, but that’s what I shoot for when I sit down to tell a story.

That’s my process, that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it!

The Divided States of America

There is much gnashing of the teeth and shrill screaming  about politics these days. Everyone with internet access has an opinion and a voice. Many people are outraged about something. Social media is choked with hate, politicians point fingers, and any sort of reasonable discourse seems to have fled the country.

The things people are screaming about are distractions, while the things they should be paying attention to go largely unnoticed. We, the people, are being played.

Money and politics

Both parties are equally beholden to the almighty dollar. There are no good guys, as far as I can see, and those who actually seem to have a heart for the American people and are willing to buck the system have no chance of actually being able to be a force for positive change because their voices are drowned out by the hatred, the money, and the discord. That seems to be the idea.

Republican Governor John Kaisch of Ohio announced his bid for the 2016 election; he is an example of a moderate who has accomplished great things in his home state, and of course, he has no chance at winning. The Koch Brothers won’t be helping him.

Hillary Clinton portrays herself as the champion of the middle class, yet she is an example of the ivory tower liberals who are not only disconnected from most of America, but who also reap millions in corporate campaign contributions. She is above all else a political animal.

The banking industry, working behind the shadows is one place where true power resides. Energy is another. Power has almost nothing to do with politics, and is essentially the ability inflict one’s will upon another. The United States possesses the strongest military the world has ever seen.

But the real power lies not in the new F-35, the stealth bomber, or the ICBM, but in those who decide when and where these weapons will be used. Where we will go to war and why.

Be angry and mean and certain!

That’s what they want. Whoever the hell they are.

It doesn’t seem to matter who the figureheads are, though I’d love to believe otherwise. We can argue about guns and rebel flags and gay rights, and it appears that there is profit somewhere for someone in that discord. We howl about Obama and lose respect for the office of the President, and that’s just fine with those guys. They’re playing both sides of the fence, and are laughing at us from their private islands.

america divided 1

The insults and name calling between parties has never been worse, and it’s spilled over from Congress to Main Street and even the dinner table.

So what should we be paying attention to?

The way money buys power. Decisions like Citizens united. Corporate welfare.

Climate change. It’s happening. The planet is growing warmer according to 99% of climatologists. Sea levels will rise, weather patterns will shift. Water shortages and droughts will worsen in some areas, while other parts of the world will see floods.

ISIS, China, and Russia.

The Islamic state is spreading like wildfire, and now boasts a well organized and supplied army. The guys behind the guys don’t know what to do about them yet, and the whole Arab spring caught them off guard, along with the power vacuum in Iraq. The middle east is nuke waiting to blow. The aftershock will shake the world.

https://authorcentral.amazon.com/gp/books/book-detail-page?ie=UTF8&bookASIN=B00IK7MH9M&index=default&parentASIN=B00ISZJOSS&tabName=

China is on course to overtake the United States in military power over the next two decades. They have an aircraft carrier, a fleet of submarines, and the desire to project power into the Indian Ocean and South Pacific. They are building islands out of the sea, placing air strips on them. China owns trillions of dollars in U.S. debt and manipulates its currency to the great detriment of the United States. Of course, the multinational corporations don’t care about what is good for the United States. They’re in the business of making money for shareholders, so will continue to ship jobs to China because it’s good for the bottom line.

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Russia is eager to reclaim its stature as a superpower, and Putin, a former KGB officer with an ego the size of his country, is unpredictable, ruthless, and bent upon taking more land and resources. The annexation of Crimea proves this, along with the war in the Ukraine, the relentless incursions into NATO airspace, and threatening posture of flights off the U.S. coast. Bombers within forty miles of California? Yes. That happened this week, again. Russia has simulated nuclear attacks against Sweden, and they are actively militarizing the arctic, building bases to go after oil resources as the ice packs melt.

Ourselves

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More dangerous to this great nation than these other threats is the one we present to ourselves.

For a house divided cannot stand.

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TEARS OF ABRAHAM, cover reveal and signing announcement!

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The first Civil War was the bloodiest conflict in American history. The second war is worse.

While the nation tears itself apart, a soldier with a deadly secret fights his way home to his family.

Freedom is worth dying for, and love is a reason to live…but a house divided cannot stand.

Can Henry, Suzanne and the United States survive? Often the things we love we hurt the most.

Bestselling author Steve Konkoly says:

Tears of Abraham delivers a frightening look at a nation torn apart by a not so distant civil war. In classic Smith style, the conflict unfolds on a deeply personal level, delivering a guy punch of authentic military style action, sleek conspiracy undertones, and gripping family drama. I was hooked from the start by this uniquely dystopian military thriller.”

This is a deeply patriotic novel, my love letter to America. Should our differences lead to open war, the results will be beyond anything we can imagine, yet even now people clamor for secession without understanding what that would mean. While politics forms a backdrop to this book, it is essentially apolitical, a look at a conflict more than a hundred years in the making through the eyes of heroes, villains, and the innocent.

TEARS OF ABRAHAM will be released in March 2016, published by Post Hill Press and distributed by Simon & Schuster.

http://www.amazon.com/Sean-T.-Smith/e/B00IKHPGEK

Southern Pride and Rebel Flags: Guest Blog with Kelli Freeman Smith

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The controversy raging around the display of the Confederate flag breaks my heart. This symbol of southern pride, adopted from a war which pitted brother against brother and  usurped by the KKK, should not be a symbol at all. We southerners have many things to be proud of, and that flag isn’t one. Our heritage is richer than that, runs deeper and truer, and we should not allow ourselves to be defined by the stars and bars.

I was born and raised in the deep south, and I’ve lived there all my life. I grew up in a sleepy town on the Florida-Georgia line, where football players were rock stars and Friday nights in the fall were the highlight of the year. A town of Magnolia trees and live oaks draped in Spanish Moss, where pickup-trucks with mud on the tires lined the Baptist Church parking lots every Sunday morning. My southern drawl is sweet as honey-dew or ice-tea on a lazy afternoon in July. I say “ya’ll, bless your heart, and amen.” I love the poetry of Faulkner and Merle Haggard and the opening notes to Sweet Home Alabama.

The land I played on as a child and the woods I scraped my knees in with my cousins were farmed by my Grand Daddy. My mother worked the fields with her 8 brothers and sisters, and in tobacco season her hands were raw and her face was burned by the sun. Most of my family still lives on that land, and our family reunions are feasts of friendship and fresh vegetables and laughter. There is pride in that. In family, a thing which we southerners take very seriously. We take care of our own.

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Driving through town, you’ll see American flags flying,whether it’s July 4, Memorial Day, or just a random morning, because patriotism runs deep here in the south. Throughout Americas wars, the South gave many of its sons to the United States. God, Family, and Country. This is much of what it means to be southern. There is also a sense of rugged individualism. My Daddy taught us, like his taught him, to work hard and to think for myself.

And then there’s the icky part. Slavery, the Civil War, Jim Crow, and lingering racism. Unfortunately the Rebel Flag symbolizes those things, particularly to those who are not from the south, and in a more subtle way, those who are, as well. I wish it was not so.

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There is a great dichotomy between patriotism and embracing a symbol of sedition. A contradiction in reading the King James version of the Gospel, and then uttering the N word with the same mouth. A lack of gentility and hospitality in flying a flag which is inherently offensive to others. A celebration of the War of Northern Aggression which was actually a war to preserve slavery, a codified, immoral, abomination couched in terms of states rights. The right the states wanted, though, was the right to own people. That’s not something to be proud of.

My social media news feed is rife with posts with rebel flags, and people, some of them dear family members, who defend the idea of displaying the flag because it is a part of southern pride and heritage. Maybe they’ve forgotten or overlooked what it actually means. The more angry the rest of the country gets, the more entrenched these folks become, rather than questioning what they believe to be true.

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Once again, brother is pitted against brother, and this flag is hurting the south again, tearing at families, destructive as Sherman’s march. Only now, we are burning ourselves to the ground. The war is over, the south lost, and it was a foolish war in the first place. Get over it and embrace what it truly means to be southern, not some romantic, idealized notion of a past that was never was. We have much to be proud of. Let’s celebrate that.

http://www.amazon.com/Objects-Wrath-Volume-Sean-Smith/dp/1618682245