Saturday, December 28, 2013

Interview: J Keith Jones

Today we have J. Keith Jones, Author of both fiction and nonfiction, including: 

The Independent (TI):  J. Keith Jones, tell us a little about yourself.
J. Keith Jones (JKJ):
I am a writer and a history buff.  I have had a fruitful career in high technology and finally figured out what I really wanted to be when I grew up... a writer.  Down deep I always knew this, but it took reaching the mid-point of my working life to muster up the courage to pursue it to the point of completing book sized projects.  Truth be told, unless you have the family money necessary to achieve an MFA in writing and a PhD in History (by this I don't mean you have to be rich, but it is necessary for you to only be responsible for your own financial well-being); it takes a decade or better to independently amass the knowledge necessary to write book length works of fiction and history.  So about 15 years ago, I got serious about my writing and completed a first draft of a novel that I ended up putting in the proverbial drawer and moved on to my next project that ended up being “In Due Time.”

TI:  Tell us about your nonfiction (Georgia Remembers… and Diamond Hill).
I have always been a history buff.  Mostly military history topics.  World War II, the American Revolution and the so-called Civil War are of particular interest to me.

One day I was reading a genealogy message board for one of my families (the Halls) and saw an entry for a letter collection for a family out of Abbeville County, South Carolina; the Robert Boyd family.  They are not actually relatives of mine, but the son-in-law of Robert Boyd, Fenton Hall, who contributed letters to this collection is.  This collection resides at Duke University, which is not too far from where I live, so I went and investigated these letters.  It is a large collection and I was at a loss as to what to do with all this source material.  As I dug deeper into it, it began to occur to me that this family had a rich back-story that was emblematic of the sacrifice and suffering of so many in this war.  After all, every life is a story.  When writing a biography, you must get all the dates, events and places correct, but you should remember that you are telling someone's life story.  The particulars are what make a book factual, but the story behind it all is what makes it interesting.  This story is what evolved into “The Boys of Diamond Hill.”  It was a labor of love and I can't imagine what the Boyd brothers would think if they knew that people would be reading about their lives 150 years later.  This book has been well received by the Boyd descendents and residents of the Diamond Hill section of Abbeville County and was awarded a Gold Medal for History by the Military Writers Society of America.  I feel blessed to have played a part in all this.

“Georgia Remembers Gettysburg” is an extension of a series created by historian Michael C. Hardy when he wrote “North Carolina Remembers Gettysburg.”  Michael is a friend of mine and one night after hearing him speak on the subject, I asked if he planned to pursue other states in this work.  Upon discovering that the way was clear for Georgia, I decided to put the research material I had on that state to work for me.  Michael in turn pitched the idea to Ten Roads Publishing so when I was ready to make my own pitch to them, it was off to the races.  Like the Boyd book, this one has been a blessing to me.

TI:  Many of the South’s leaders were amazing men, militarily and otherwise.  Lee and Jackson in particular.  Jackson defies all of the stereotypes heaped on southerners.  That’s why I believe books like yours that take the words of the men that lived through the Civil War are so very important to show it how it was – good, bad, or otherwise.  Does this play into why you wrote your books?   

As a Southerner, I have always understood that the South's role in that war and the reason its people fought has been grossly mischaracterized by modern historians.  The Christian character of the Southern people and their leaders of that day and the Constitutional principles they revered are certainly politically incorrect by today's standards.  As for the common soldier – few of which were actually slave holders – the fact is that regardless of why your government or generals are fighting, if your homeland is being invaded by an army willing to burn your town and displace your family... you fight.

TI:  Tell us about In Due Time.  What led you to write it?

I had conceptualized a little time travel piece that was originally to be a short story.  I had several elements in place, but there was always something missing. One of these was what was the great struggle they were to be fighting against.  Then one Saturday morning I was thinking about the story again and the missing elements all fell into place.  I realized that what I now had was much larger than a short story. 

For some time American exceptional-ism has been under attack.  Many bemoan everything from our seemingly “privileged” lifestyles to the fact that we don't kowtow to international courts.  Of course this leads to many so-called “conspiracy theories” about the New World Order prophesied in the Bible.  So I felt this was the perfect vehicle for this story.

TI:  We’ve both written books that explore a dark future for the United States.  How real is that future?  And if it is real - what, if anything, can be done at this point to prevent it?

This, of course, is nothing new.  George Orwell, Aldous Huxley and others have explored these well before our time; not to mention the book of Revelations.  I think this future is as real as we allow it to be.  There are so many elements of and avenues to this dark future that it is impossible for any one writer to explore them all.  I think that awareness is the only prevention. 

When I wrote this book, I was first and foremost setting out to tell a story, not educate anyone on the New World Order.  It is only natural that patterns I recognize and dangers I see on the horizon would find their way into my work.  It is interesting that about 90% of the people I encounter when I am at public events will lean in close and confide their fears about this subject.  Then there is the 10% or so that will roll their eyes and say something like, “aw jeeze.”

TI:  What can we expect next from you?  Any plans for a new book?

I am currently working on “South Carolina Remembers Gettysburg.”  Other projects lining up behind this include revisiting the first unfinished novel I referred to and a biography of some members of the Stonewall Jackson family.  I am also kicking around the plot lines for a couple of (probably unconventional) sequels to “In Due Time.”

TI:  Anything you’d like to add before we go?

I want to thank you for the opportunity share a little about myself and my writing with your readers.  Every life is a story and every story is interesting if it is told right.  The challenge is to prevent peoples lives from becoming nothing more than boring dates and dry events.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Interview: Alex Smith

Today we have Alex Smith, author of several survival books.

The Independent (TI):  Alex, tell us a little about yourself and what you do.
Alex Smith (AS):  I’m a lifelong outdoors enthusiast with interests in preparedness and sustainable living.  I enjoy camping, shooting sports and spending time with my family.

TI:  Tell us about your newest book, Home Remedies.

AS:  It’s an excellent introduction for the individual with limited experience in the application of home remedies.  In it, we discuss:

1.  How to make infusions, salves, poultices and more.

2.  Nearly 500 home remedies.

3.  Super plants everyone should have on hand.

4.  Starting your own home remedy/herb garden.

TI:  Tell us about your previous books.

AS:  I have two other books available.  Getting Home and Staying Home

I try to write all of my books in a clear and open manner.  I shy away from technical jargon that the beginner may find intimidating.  Still, I think all of my work offers enough information to still be useful for even those that are experienced in preparedness.

Getting Home examines what is needed to survive a collapse scenario and make it home to your family.  Some of the items I discuss include:

1. Creating a robust Every Day Carry (EDC) kit

2. Supplementing your EDC with a Daypack (DP)

3. What to store in your office (or other facility while you are away from home)

4. Selecting and outfitting your vehicle

5. Selecting and outfitting a Get Home Bag (GHB)

6. Creating Caches

7. Getting Home: Tips and Tactics for Survival

Staying Home is focused more on preparing your home and property for a disaster.   In it, the following items are discussed:

1. Selecting a the right region to weather a disaster

2. Selecting a defendable property

3. Making your property sustainable and independent

4. Hardening your property

5. Reinforcing your home

6. Preparations for hard times

7. Skills for self-reliance

8. Leveraging your community

9. Disaster scenarios

TI:  What is your advice for someone who has the basics of preparedness (food, medical, self-defense), but wants to move to the next level?

AS:  Once you have a decent store of food, some medical supplies and a nice battery of weapons, you’re in pretty good shape.  Now’s the time to move towards a level of self-sustainable preparedness. 

At this point, it’s really more about skills: 

Learn to garden and raise livestock.

Take a wilderness survival or first-aid class.

Attend a self-defense class, professional firearms training or an Appleseed shoot.

Get in shape!  Get a home gym.

Learn skills that could be valuable in a prolonged grid-down scenario (carpentry, small engine repair, metalworking, etc.)

TI:  Anything you’d like to add before we go?

AS: To celebrate the release of Home Remedies, I’ve dropped the price on all 3 of my books to 99 cents each for the Kindle editions.  The sale won’t last long, so get them while you can.

TI:  Excellent!  Alex, thanks for the heads up and for dropping by!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Interview: Sam Culper, III Magazine

Today we have Sam Culper of Guerrillamerica and III Magazine.

TI:  Tell us about Guerrillamerica.
SC:  Guerrillamerica started as a way for me to vent my frustration and share news stories about future hostilities.  Those future hostilities looked to me like they would involve irregular threats and devolve (or progress) into sustained guerrilla struggles.  The more and more I started reading about potential financial collapse, the more and more it began to seem orchestrated, especially given the key players’ socio-political leanings.  I’m a schoolhouse-trained intelligence professional but given all the available evidence, it doesn’t take an expert analyst to come to this conclusion.

After reading John Mosby’s Mountain Guerrilla blog for a while, I decided to change the direction of Guerrillamerica.  I was doing the same thing as a hundred other blogs, just re-hashing the news and providing commentary; maybe linking the occasional buried but significant news story.

I spent three and a half years in Iraq and Afghanistan operating on intelligence missions, and I figured that I had a unique skill that I could share that others might find valuable.  So I started blogging about intelligence-related aspects of collapse and defense.

TI:  Tell us about III Magazine.
SC:  I’m pretty interested in the cultural aspects of the III% movement.  There are all these veins and sub-groups and niches of the III% community, and there’s no one source covering us specifically.  I thought there was enough demand to start a small digital magazine to cover the movement, publicize the positive aspects, and provide human-interest pieces for community consumption.

We just published our third issue and are making plans to create a print issue for early next year.  People seem to enjoy reading it, and I’m really glad to produce it.

TI:  You also host training opportunities in the Southeast (anything above Vicksburg is ‘the Nawth’ to me, but I digress…), correct? 
SC:  I do.  Part of creating a framework for collecting good intelligence and analyzing it is training.  Collection and analysis are critical to community defense.  There was enough demand to start planning a few iterations of the Intelligence Collection and Analysis Course (ICAC).  It’s a fairly basic level of instruction that covers Operations and Communications Security, Intelligence Collection, and Intelligence Analysis.  Our communities and operating environments are likely to be difficult to understand post-SHTF (collapse or regime hard tyranny), but the better equipped with the tools to decipher what’s going on, the better off and likely safer we’ll be.  The ICAC, I hope, provides students the opportunity to learn those tools.

TI:  Any advice for someone just waking up to the realities of the world we face? 
SC:  Well, you’ve got a steep learning curve just like most of us did just starting off.  I think the first step is two-fold (and these steps aren’t necessarily chronological, but should be concurrent): prepare food and water storage, and find or build tribe. 

Seventy-two hours of food and water is great for 72 hours.  Hour 73 might be a different story.  What the government recommends (72 hours) is probably too little (re: Katrina, Sandy, etc.).  The second part of the first step is finding or building tribe.  Tribe are the folks who think like we do; the folks who are preparing.  They could be friends and family, members of your church or other community organization, neighbors, what-have-you.  These should be people that you trust and people that you can incorporate into disaster planning.  Cover all the fields and create some redundancy: medical, weapons, communications, and intelligence.  Remember that not only are you preparing to survive the storm, but also to protect what you have.  If you can’t protect it then you might not keep it for long.

The second step is improving your individual or family preparations, and developing the four aforementioned skills.  Expecting to train yourself in any of these skills is like expecting a surgeon to teach himself how to operate on a patient.  Learning skills independently of experts will have to suffice if it’s all that’s available; otherwise, you should be learning from an expert.  There are plenty of experts now who are willing to provide training so seek out credible experts and learn while you still can.

TI:  Anything you’d like to add before we go?
SC:   A lot of people talk about revolution, which is fine.  Most really have no clue what that entails.  Combat is not Call of Duty.  What’s likely to happen is that a state government goes to bat for its citizens.  We then have a choice: join that state in defense of Liberty, or hand to our children a overtly tyrannical government.  It’s that simple.  Things could get really ugly.  If you live in a state that’s not likely to defend its citizens’ Liberty, then move.  If your state doesn’t care about its fiduciary responsibilities, then you’re on the losing end of a breech of contract, to which I can only say again: move before that happens to you.  Revolution will occur at the state level.  It might be 1861 all over again but, given the political climate and current trends, that’s quickly become our only option.

If you want to see what the future of America looks like, look no further than Rhodesia.  The authority of our nation’s Constitution is being usurped and Patriots will suffer or hang for it.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Interview: Kentucky Lake Prepper

Today we have Chet of Kentucky Lake Prepper.

The Independent (TI):  Chet, tell us a little about yourself and what you do.
Chet (KLP): I am a twelve year veteran law enforcement officer currently holding the rank of patrol sergeant. I am also the firearms instructor for my department as well as a part time instructor for Tactical Response.

        I had my eye opening moment about 6 years ago while talking with John Willis, the owner of Original Special Operations Equipment. I was just hanging out at his shop and we had a weather system headed our way that evening. He asked me if I had extra supplies on hand, such as food, water, alternate power supplies etc. I had nothing. That one simple question made me realize how vulnerable I had left my family to any number of scenarios, be it natural disasters, financial or otherwise. It was a sobering moment to say the least it just went on from there.

TI:  KLP has a food storage and a knot-tying series that are both very helpful.  Do you have a favorite video that you’ve produce?                                                                                             
KLP: Oh it is definitely the food storage series so far. I have received more messages and questions from those videos than any other, which tells me I am helping some people. I really like the idea that I am doing some small part to bring people into a preparedness mindset. That was the sole purpose of starting the channel in the first place, although I do now branch into some other topics, such as wilderness self reliance.

TI:  What is your advice for someone who has the basics of preparedness (food, medical, self-defense), but wants to move to the next level?
KLP:   Keep building on your basics. Set goals and attain them, no matter how small. Another huge thing to focus on is getting out of debt and staying that way, which can seem pretty daunting. But it can be done. It is a true feeling of freedom to not owe anyone anything. Lastly, find ways to communicate with friends, family and neighbors about preparedness. In a SHTF scenario, communities will be much better off. The lone wolf mentality simply will not work. Like I say in one of my videos, “We are all in this together. Make your community as large as you can”.

TI:  What can we expect next from KLP?
KLP:   I am going to be going more into the wilderness self reliance/survival vein soon. I find that if you can get folks out in the woods having fun, the concept of self reliance becomes much less foreign to many people, and it is easier for them to transfer that into their daily lives. It is strange to think that self reliance is so foreign these days for many, but it is largely indoctrination, I think. People are conditioned to need someone to help them all the time and it can be a process helping them realize that self reliance goes hand in hand with freedom.

TI:  As a LEO, does the rise of the warrior-cop mentality concern you?  It seems many are forsaking the ideals of the peace officer, in favor of the militarized 1* mentality.  What does this trend mean, in your opinion, for the future of law enforcement?
KLP: That is a great question and all I can do is speculate here. In past history we have seen the militarization of America's police for different reasons and under several presidencies. Again we see the use of indoctrination here. Feed people just a little bit at a time and convince them its for the good of the people. Each time it gets easier to sell it. We have certainly not seen the last of it. Most of the officers I have come in contact with would not raise weapons against the american people. I certainly would not. It all comes down to the quality of people really. Those that became officers because they wanted to be police officers won't be your problem. The problem will be those that became police because they needed a job. Those will be your jackbooted thugs. The mindless order takers. Safety at the cost of freedom. I will have no part of that. I hope that answers your question, although we could certainly have a complete book on that subject.

TI:  Anything you’d like to add before we go?
KLP:  I would just like to thank you for taking your time to talk with me and for using your talents to help spread the word. I hope we can talk again soon. Also, I want to remind your readers to check out my YouTube channel at and to follow me on Facebook at . Feel free to contact me if I can help you or any of your readers in any way.