RUSSIANS, RUSSIANS EVERYWHERE!

That’s the only hint I’ll give you for now!

DEEP SLEEP, book one in the Devin Gray series, is now available on Amazon in all formats (ebook, audio, hard copy).

First, a huge thank you to everyone that took good advantage of the special, early deal offered by my publisher. Even before today’s “official” release, DEEP SLEEP has by far been my most successful book launch to date—garnering more than 4,000 reviews and hitting the #1 spot in the entire Amazon Kindle store. On top of that, DEEP SLEEP has remained in the top 10 sold ebooks at Amazon for the entire month of January. And this is just the tip of the iceberg. 

For those of you who have already taken the leap into my new series, COMING DAWN (Book 2) will hit the “shelves” in late October, wrapping up the core conspiracy. You can preorder it at the very bottom of this post…and take a sneak peek at the cover and story description.

TO GRAB A COPY OF DEEP SLEEP TODAY, and dive into a new world of espionage and sleeper agents, click your country’s Amazon store link below!

—US Amazon members. CLICK HERE.
—UK Amazon members CLICK HERE. 
—CA Amazon members CLICK HERE.
—AU Amazon members CLICK HERE.

Check out what major review outlets and other thriller authors have to say about DEEP SLEEP:

“Techno-thrillers fans will delight in military vet Konkoly’s obvious expertise when it comes to the authenticity and intensity of the numerous action sequences.” —Publishers Weekly

“A lively, roller-coaster thriller that moves like lightning.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Nobody’s better at spy craft, action, and intrigue than Steven Konkoly. Thrilling entertainment from the first to the last written word.” —Robert Dugoni, New York Times and #1 Amazon bestselling author of The Eighth Sister

“Steven Konkoly has blown my mind! Deep Sleep is an intelligent, intense, and completely unpredictable high-concept spy thriller. I’m hooked!” —Theresa Ragan, New York Times bestselling author of Her Last Day

“Fast-paced, suspenseful, and wildly creative. A modern-day masterpiece of spy fiction.” —Andrew Watts, USA Today bestselling author of the Firewall Spies series

“A pulse pounding conspiracy tale in the finest traditions of Vince Flynn and Nelson DeMille…Deep Sleep is a must-read rollercoaster of a thriller.” —Jason Kasper, USA Today bestselling author of the Shadow Strike series

“Devin Gray is the hero we need in our corner. Relentless in pursuit of truth, vindication, and saving his homeland, he is the perfect protagonist for Konkoly’s newest dive into the techno thriller world. Again, he proves his mastery of the genre, drawing from real-world events to create a plausible and frightening glimpse into what’s happening underneath our feet and behind the walls of power.” —Tom Abrahams, Emmy Award–winning journalist and author of Sedition

“Steve Konkoly delivers a conspiracy thriller unlike any other and proves he’s at the top of his game. With a deft hand and an eye for plot intricacies, Konkoly will take you into a web of deceit that will shake you to your core and keep you turning until the very last page. Deep Sleep has set a new bar in the world of thrillers and Konkoly has taken his seat at the head of the table.” —Brian Shea, Wall Street Journal bestselling author of the Boston Crime series and co-author of the Rachel Hatch series

“A master of action/adventure, Steven Konkoly has done it again, weaving a tale of high-stakes espionage that’s ripped from today’s international headlines. Plan to stay up very late reading Deep Sleep, as he keeps the pages turning!” —Joseph Reid, bestselling author of the Seth Walker series

“I love a great conspiracy thriller, and Steven Konkoly has conjured one that’s utterly chilling with Deep Sleep. From the high stakes set-up to the explosive finale, there’s barely time to take a breath. Crack this one open and buckle in for one hell of a ride.” —Joe Hart, Wall Street Journal bestselling author of the Dominion Trilogy and Or Else


COMING DAWN (BOOK 2) SNEAK PEEK

—US Amazon members. CLICK HERE TO PREORDER.
—UK Amazon members CLICK HERE TO PREORDER. 
—CA Amazon members CLICK HERE TO PREORDER.
—AU Amazon members CLICK HERE TO PREORDER.

“The dawn of an inconceivable act of treason rises. The stakes for America’s future have never been higher than in a gripping novel of suspense by the Wall Street Journal bestselling author of Deep Sleep.

When CIA officer Helen Gray died, her son, Devin, a countersurveillance expert, inherited her paranoia—and the explosive evidence that gave it weight: a vast, previously undetected Russian sleeper network has operated in the United States since the Cold War.

The cells aren’t just embedded in every level of state and federal government. They’ve penetrated corporations that supply crucial technology to the Department of Defense and various intelligence agencies. With the network’s true scope still unknown, the only way to drive a stake through the heart of the conspiracy is to dispatch a covert crew to Moscow and eliminate the oligarch bankrolling it.

Russia’s endgame: inconceivable. Devin’s challenge: stop the greatest threat to national security and world peace in history. The margin for error: nonexistent.”

SKYSTORM takes Kindles, Audible and bookshelves by “STORM”

Ryan Decker, Harlow Mackenzie and the gang are back in what will likely be the last Decker novel for a while. Knowing that this might be the last Decker book, I took the plot and action to the next level. Explosive doesn’t begin to describe what unfolds. In fact, when I began the first full edit with Kevin Smith, my developmental editor, I started off by saying…”I have a few more action scenes in mind, but I’m not sure if we should add them. Readers won’t get a break after the first few chapters.” His answer (paraphrased)…”Are you kidding? The more the merrier.” SO, reader be warned. This one doesn’t give you much rest.

But don’t take my word for it. Here’s what a few major review sources had to say about SKYSTORM.

“Explosive action, a breakneck pace, and zippy dialogue.” — Kirkus Reviews.

“Readers seeking a well-constructed action thriller need look no further.” — Publisher’s Weekly

“If you enjoy action thrillers that have both strong male and female characters, then this may be the series for you.” — Mystery and Suspense Magazine. 

GRAB A COPY BY CLICKING ON YOUR LINK BELOW (You’ll find ebook, audio and paper through each link).

United States Amazon Store

UK Amazon Store

Canadian Amazon Store

Australian Amazon Store

A Wall Street Journal bestselling series.

Unmasking a treasonous American conspiracy is a dangerous move in a heart-pounding thriller about greed, power, revenge, and murder.

After covert investigators Ryan Decker and Harlow Mackenzie demolished APEX, a billion-dollar criminal enterprise, a tenuous truce between the two factions suggested the battle was over. But not for Decker’s director, Senator Margaret Steele. She’s uncovered an even deadlier operation—code name Skystorm.

SKYSTORM violates every international arms-trafficking law imaginable. And for the senator, exposing the plot may be a gamble too far. APEX has caught wind of the investigation, and they’ve gone on the offensive. Steele’s warning to Decker and Harlow: we’re all in a no-holds-barred fight for our lives.

With APEX’s scorched-earth tactics now unmistakable, Decker and Harlow pull the trigger on their worst-case-scenario plan and move to turn the tables on their ruthless adversary. With a shadowy mercenary team, Decker and Harlow embark for a war—one that Skystorm’s influential DC backers have no intention of losing. To safeguard their treasonous secret, they aim to bury it, along with Decker and everyone he loves.

Time for a thrill ride up THE MOUNTAIN (Ryan Decker Book 3)

“There’s a reason they call it Murder Mountain, and Ryan Decker is on the verge of figuring it out—the hard way.”

I’ll keep this short and sweet. THE MOUNTAIN IS NOW AVAILABLE IN KINDLE OR HARDCOPY. Audiobook hits the shelves on July 28th. 

Publishers Weekly had this to say about The Mountain. “Exciting action scenes help propel this tale of murderous greed and corruption toward a satisfying conclusion. Readers will look forward to Decker and company’s next adventure.”

Without you—the reader—my wife would make me get a real job. SO…THANK YOU IN ADVANCE FOR WHAT I KNOW WILL BE AN INCREDIBLE BOOK LAUNCH! 

HAPPY READING!
Steve


CLICK HERE FOR US Amazon Store 
CLICK HERE FOR UK Amazon Store
CLICK HERE FOR CA Amazon Store
CLICK HERE FOR AU Amazon Store



The Wall Street Journal bestselling series continues with THE MOUNTAIN.

Investigating a missing persons case on Murder Mountain means looking for trouble in a propulsive thriller by the author of The Raid.

When someone disappears on Northern California’s lawless Murder Mountain, it isn’t news. The vast terrain for illegal marijuana harvests is also a notorious black hole for outsiders. But when that someone is the family friend of the persuasive and righteous Senator Steele, finding him becomes covert investigator Ryan Decker’s mission.

For Decker, the risks of infiltrating a multibillion-dollar outlaw industry are greater than he could possibly understand. Especially when that industry has flourished into the profitable backbone of a secretive and influential DC-based think tank. And protecting its untraceable revenue in the Emerald Triangle is a band of ruthless white nationalists.

What begins as a seemingly straightforward favor soon pulls Decker and his partner, Harlow Mackenzie, into a high-stakes conspiracy linked to the most cold-blooded puppet masters and power brokers in the country. The harder Decker and Harlow work to expose the insidious faction, the harder it’ll be to make it out of Murder Mountain alive.

DISCOVER SCI-FI ARTICLE

I arrived at a rather unenviable and hopefully “once in a lifetime” position recently—having accurately predicted the pandemic now sweeping the globe. 

It’s an inexplicably eerie feeling. A pandemic is not something you ever hope to be “right about.” You hope it never happens. Unfortunately, one of my greatest fears has come true. A fear with its roots firmly planted in my first novel, The Jakarta Pandemic (TJP for short), published ten years ago.

The idea for TJP sprang from an already unhealthy obsession with viral outbreaks. Captain Trips from Stephen King’s epic, The Stand, was burned into my psyche from an early age. I burned through The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton in a single sitting. The book Hot Zone by Richard Preston and movie Outbreak was like a one-two punch, released a year apart in 1994-95. The movie 28 Days Later in 2002. Max Brooks brilliant novel, World War Z a few years after that. I couldn’t get enough of these stories. And then the Swine Flu pandemic hit in 2008! Looking back, it should have come as no surprise to anyone, especially me, that my first stab at writing a novel would center around a pandemic. 

However, despite my initial enthusiasm—the project barely got off the ground. The usual first time, part time writer challenges applied. Didn’t know what I was doing and wasn’t sure it would be worth the effort. Limited time to write. Busy with two young kids. Everything got in the way, but the biggest delay came from what turned out to be the novel’s greatest strength.

I spent at least six months researching past pandemics, virology, disease epidemiology, U.S. and world pandemic response protocols and detection capabilities, vaccine production, the U.S. healthcare and medical infrastructure, U.S essential services infrastructure, supply chain dynamics.

I consumed every article or paper publicly available that could help me understand the various impacts of a pandemic on society. I had hit what writers call “research paralysis,” where I was obsessed with collecting and digesting more information than I truly needed to write the novel. 

When I finally broke through to the other side, I decided to tell the story differently. I steered away from the heroic CDC scientist hopping from one jet to another to reach the next hot zone or the critical response team fighting against all odds to stay one step ahead of the pandemic. Instead, I focused on a single family’s tense and claustrophobic struggle to stay alive during the most lethal pandemic in recorded human history. Of course, I threw way more at them than an unseen virus. Society collapses in my novel (along with nearly all essential services), pitting neighbor against neighbor in a vicious struggle to survive.

What does this have to do with me predicting the COVID19 Pandemic? 

Fast forward ten years from the publication of The Jakarta Pandemic to January of this year. Without going into exhaustive detail (I’ve already taken up enough of your time)—YOU DON’T LOCKDOWN AN ENTIRE CITY OF 11 MILLION PEOPLE FOR THE SEASONAL FLU. I had been watching the virus news closely when Wuhan was locked down by Chinese authorities, noting that the first case detected in the U.S. a few days earlier, had recently returned from a trip to Wuhan. That was all I needed to know. 

My Paul Revere ride through the COVID19 Pandemic

A HISTORY OF MY POSTS REGARDING COVID19.

Note: ALL OF THESE POSTS ORIGINATED ON FACEBOOK. I REBROADCASTED MOST OF THEM ON TWITTER AND ON THIS BLOG.

Another note: I posted a few times between the end of January and the start of my regular posting on Feb 27th, but deleted those posts due to harassment via email and PM on Facebook…and directly on the posts. Most of the harassment centered around the theme “liberal hoax hyped by Fake News Media.” THIS IS NOT A PARTISAN OR POLITICAL ISSUE FOR ME. I was critical of the Ebola response in 2014 in two widely circulated posts. POST ONE. POST TWO.

JANUARY 27th 

Looking at this representation of the Wuhan Coronavirus brings me back to 2008, when I started to write my first novel, THE JAKARTA PANDEMIC. Publicly available, interactive digital maps like this didn’t exist at that point (outside of a few barely navigable sites), so I created what I would want to see if I were tracking a pandemic virus. Looks like I wasn’t alone. LINK to Wuhan Coronavirus tracking site–> https://gisanddata.maps.arcgis.com/…/opsdashboa…/index.html…

From THE JAKARTA PANDEMIC (2010)

“Next, Alex navigated to the International Scientific Pandemic Awareness Collaborative (ISPAC) site and checked their world activity map. Color-coded symbols littered the world, each representing a reported flu outbreak. Placing the mouse icon over one of the symbols activated a text box, which could be further expanded for more detailed information. Light blue: cases of interest, yellow: initial outbreak, orange: small-scale outbreak, red: medium-sized outbreak, violet: large-scale outbreak.

He moved the map to China and saw that dozens of southern coastal cities were shaded either orange or red; Hong Kong and the surrounding areas were shaded violet. He passed the mouse over one of these areas.
“Greater Guangzhou city. Population 12,100,000. Massive outbreak. 8,000+ reported cases. Uncontained. Containment efforts focused on Guangdong Province.”

Alex zoomed out of China and settled on a worldview. Colored dots appeared to sweep outward in a concentric wave from Southeast Asia. A solid perimeter of blue dots extended from Japan, through South Korea and Vladivostok, then reached across northern China and connected with Pakistan and India. India was covered in blue dots and yellow dots; orange icons appeared centered over several major cities within India.”

FEBRUARY 27th

My take on the COVID-19 virus.

BEFORE I GET STARTED—THIS IS NOT THE TIME TO PANIC, but it is definitely time to take a few key steps to avoid panic later.

“AS OF YESTERDAY, I CAN NO LONGER INDIVIDUALLY REPLY TO REQUESTS FOR INFORMATION OR OPINIONS REGARDING THE COVID-19 VIRUS. The number of emails and messages has become overwhelming. That said, I don’t want to leave readers and friends hanging, so I’ve put together the key information, predictions and recommendations that I’ve gathered or formed over the past few weeks. 

Disclaimer: I’m not a scientific expert in pandemic epidemiology…or anything for that matter! However, I did exhaustively researched pandemics and complex healthcare plans to address pandemics for my first novel, THE JAKARTA PANDEMIC (TJP), which was published in 2010. TJP was one of the first modern novels to address the average citizen’s experience during a lethal pandemic, from the arrival of the virus to a sensationalized breakdown of society. The virus I “brought to life” was far worse than anything we’ve seen in recorded history. That’s how you sell fiction. I don’t think we’ll ever see anything even remotely as deadly and destructive as the virus I created for that novel. Why tell you this? Because we’re not dealing with this kind of scenario with COVID-19—BUT WE’RE STILL FACING A UNIQUELY LETHAL CRISIS. Let me explain.

WHAT ARE WE ACTUALLY DEALING WITH?

CONTAGIOUSNESS:

COVID-19 is very likely twice as contagious as the seasonal flu, spread by DROPLET CONTACT (cough, sneeze or nose/mouth wipe that ends up on a surface and is then transmitted when someone else touches the surface…or if someone sneezes/coughs right into your face) and quite possibly some AIRBORNE CONTACT (aerosolized droplets from coughs and sneezes float around for a while and land in your mouth, eyes or other mucus membranes). Airborne contact has not been scientifically demonstrated, but the fact that it spreads faster than seasonal flu has experts suspected an airborne component. 

MORBIDITY AND MORTALITY:

Chinese epidemiological reports based on current infection data puts the case fatality rate (CFR) at around 2%. This may change, but experts think it will hover right around that number. Seasonal flu has a CFR around .1%…so COVID-19 is 10-20X more lethal if contracted. On top of that, 20% of those infected require critical care (ICU level) to survive. This is important to remember.

EPIDEMIOLOGY AND CASE FATALITY BREAKDOWN:

Noted Harvard epidemiologist and many other experts expect 40-70% of world population to be exposed to COVID-19 within a year. This sounds high to me, and only time and more data will tell. 

Case Fatality Rate data: The older and more immunocompromised you are, the worse it gets. 

Under 50 Years old—.2 to .4 CFR (2-4X greater than seasonal flu. This is still BAD)
50-59 — 1.3% (10X)
60-69 — 3.6% (You do the math)
70-79 — 8%
80 and above — 15%
Cardiovascular disease, diabetes, pulmonary disease? 6-10%

PREDICTIONS:

This is rough guess stuff based on data presented above and expert opinion (not mine). 

—THIS WILL NOT BE AN APOCALYPTIC SCENARIO LIKE MY BOOKS. We’re looking at a slower burn scenario with limited, but ultimately significant impacts on society and daily life. COVID-19 
—The food supply/power grid/water supply systems are unlikely to fail. I just don’t see that happening. What I do see happening is a brief, intense run on the stores (a few weeks), which will empty the shelves temporarily. Food will return, but daily essentials like toilet paper (think of what you resupply every few weeks), OTC medicines, prescription medicines will constantly be in demand. Picture a grocery store and how much shelf space is dedicated to different classes of items.
—You will need to prepare for a 1-2 month period of general, but not complete societal “shut down.” Businesses closed. Restaurants shut. Day care and schools closed. Work places closed? THIS WILL BE THE MOST FRIGHTENING TIME—FOR GOOD REASON. You will want to avoid or severely limit public exposure. YOU NEED TO PREPARE FOR THIS! Can you remain mostly at home for a month or two, without resupplying? If you have to go out, can you keep yourself safe from infection and panic induced crime?
—The closure of schools, daycares and workplaces WILL SERIOUSLY STRAIN financially insecure families, if not ruin them financially. YOU MUST PLAN FOR THIS. Talk with employers ahead of time. Whatever it takes. This won’t last forever, but too many people can’t afford to take a single unpaid day off from work TODAY! I can’t understate the importance of this aspect.
—Don’t count on the healthcare system to help you. The U.S. has 1 million hospital beds…only a fraction of those are capable of ICU level care. If 20% of half of our population requires critical care—that’s around 30 MILLION very sick people without a bed when the pandemic music stops!

WHAT CAN YOU DO TODAY?

—Do whatever is within your means to prepare for a 1-2 month period of minimal public contact. Food. Medicine. Home essentials. FOCUS ON STUFF YOU CAN YOU USE EVEN IF COVID-19 DOESN’T MATERIALIZE. This is the key to readiness. Everything I buy will be used within a matter of a few years.
—Prepare for your kids to be home. Even if the schools don’t close, do you really want them at school? The reported fatality rate is VERY LOW for kids, but they can still bring the virus home to YOU!
—Start talking to your employer today about COVID-19 plans. Better to get the conversation rolling now, then to pull an absence that cost you your job or a few weeks of pay.
—Stockpile FLU mitigating medications. CLICK LINK TO SEE LIST. Most of us will come down with nasty flu symptoms that are not life threatening, but can be very uncomfortable…and possibly get worse if left untreated.
—Stockpile disinfectant supplies like bleach based sprays/solutions, disinfectant wipes for door handles/cars/shopping carts, hand sanitizer, and masks (any kind…but preferably N95 level protection).
—Stockpile IMMUNE SYSTEM boosting supplies like Multivitamins, extra Vitamin C, Elderberry in any form, Oregano Oil…lots of stuff out there that can help with this. Stay rested. Eat Healthy.

SUMMARY:

Let’s hope this doesn’t get nearly as bad as the experts indicate—BUT LET’S TAKE SOME STEPS NOW TO PREVENT A DISASTER IF COVID-19 CONTINUES TO SPREAD AS PREDICTED.”

FEBRUARY 28th

A well balanced and thoughtful article on COVID-19 by Randy Powers. Worth a read. No panic. Just sound, practical advice.

MARCH 1st

As you can imagine, I’ve digested hundreds of articles over the past few weeks related to the coronavirus threat. Several have stood out as well-balanced and informative. Giving these articles a few minutes of your time will put you on the right track to “Prepare without fear. Prepare with intelligence. Prepare with benevolence.” — Dr. Hal Cohen.

Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Tracker–> https://gisanddata.maps.arcgis.com/…/opsdashboa…/index.html…

Preparing for Coronavirus to Strike the U.S.–> https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/…/preparing-for-coron…/

USA Today’s Coronavirus, explained: Everything you need to know about COVID-19.–> https://www.usatoday.com/…/coronavirus-what-are…/4563892002/

CORONAVIRUS AND U.S.: ADVICE AND ACTION STEPS TO PREPARE YOURSELF AND YOUR FAMILY –> http://www.practicaltactical4you.com/coronavirus-and-u-s-a…/

Responding to Covid-19 — A Once-in-a-Century Pandemic?–> https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp2003762

Just how contagious is COVID-19?–> https://www.popsci.com/story/health/how-diseases-spread/

And, if you missed my blog post on COVID-19, you can read it here–> https://stevenkonkoly.com/2020/02/27/covid-19-primer/

MARCH 9:

THIS IS NOT GOING TO BE A POPULAR POST WITH SOME. 

WHY YOU SHOULD STOCK UP ON TOILET PAPER (and everything else you need to keep your household running for 2-4 weeks of complete or partial isolation) RIGHT NOW.

THE SIMPLE ANSWER IN TWO PARTS:

1.) You and your loved ones will have a far better chance of remaining safe from COVID19.

2.) As it starts to become even more obvious that COVID19 is here to stay for a while, this may be your last chance to acquire these supplies for a long time (I don’t have data to support this one, but just take a look at the news).

Is this panic or fear based? No. It’s data based. 

The first thing we need to do is DROP the mantra “BUT THIS ISN’T AS BAD AS THE SEASONAL FLU!” 

It isn’t, YET…but scientific data and disease epidemiologists says it WILL BE…or at the very least IT SHOULD BE. Let’s hope math and the experts are wrong. Or as a good Marine buddy of mine once said, “you can wish in one hand and shit in the other…and see which one fills up first.” You get the not so pretty picture.

THE SLIGHTLY MORE COMPLICATED ANSWER IN MANY PARTS: 

1.) COVID19 IS NOT GOING AWAY ANY TIME SOON. It’s Reproductive Number (R0 or “R-naught”) is somewhere between 1.4 and 4, which is consistent with historical coronaviruses. R0 is the number of patients each patient infects on their own. An R0 BELOW 1 means the disease dies out. An R0 AT 1 means it infects one person and the disease grows at a steady rate. An R0 OVER 1 means the disease spreads exponentially. Season flu has an R0 of 1.2…WITH A VACCINE ADMINISTERED AHEAD OF TIME AND DURING THE FLU SEASON! COVID19’s R0 is most likely double or triple the seasonal flu, and there is NO VACCINE. 

1A.) BONUS! Infected people typically shed the virus (directly give it to you or give it to a door handle that gives it to you) for 7 DAYS before showing symptoms. Some can remain asymptomatic for 14 days…higher time periods are suspected. ALSO, a study released today in the LANCET indicated that the mean number of days a patient remains contagious in ICU is 20 days in survivors. 37 days was the longest observed. This is not like your typical cold or sinus thing, where we all think “once I’m showing symptoms, I’m not contagious.” 

2.) COVID19 IS MORE LETHAL THAN THE SEASONAL FLU. The latest data points coming out of China (44K patient analysis) and Italy did not dampen the Case Fatality Rate (CFR) as many had hoped. Data confirmed a fairly steady 2.3% overall CFR. That’s 23X higher than seasonal flu at .1%. The older you are, or sicker you are, the worse the scenario. If you’re older than 60, or have comorbid diseases (heart disease, diabetes, etc), you are anywhere from 36-148X more likely to die from COVID19 than the seasonal flu. SEE THE DATA BELOW. 

2A.) BONUS! 37,000 Americans died last year from the flu…and WE HAD A FLU VACCINE (admittedly the vaccine is not perfect). We will not have a vaccine for COVID19 for at least a year, maybe longer. 

2B.) CYNICAL TAKE: Hey…maybe only the same number of Americans will die from COVID19 as the flu. WHAT A MORBID THOUGHT…one I see repeated day in and day out. One I’ve now seen both the leader of the US and UK state publicly. SEE the part where I say BUY TOILET PAPER and other stuff NOW, because with our leaders spouting this attitude, I can assure you they do not have your best interest at heart. Listen to the experts please. 

3.) COVID19 IS MORE WIDESPREAD THAN THE NUMBERS SUGGEST. This is a math based theory.I’m not going to get into the math, but the bottom line is that we haven’t been testing for COVID19 in any wide scale manner. As testing picks up, we’ll start to see a glimpse of the real numbers. WE HAVE TO FACE IT. COVID19 has been here since the first infected travelers got off the plane from Asia. We don’t know when that happened, but since China has been fighting the outbreak since December, it’s fair to say that the first infected passengers arrived in January. TWO MONTHS AGO. If you understand exponential growth, you’ll quickly understand why the currently reported numbers are likely off by a magnitude of ten or more. 

SO…what was I saying earlier? Oh yeah. It might be prudent to prepare for a short (2-4 week) period of time when you can stay away from the general public…or anyone outside of your circle of sanitized trust. Make sure the vulnerable in your family or in your neighborhood are similarly situated. Significant social distancing by the population (to include self-quarantine/isolation) will be the only way to drop that R0 below or close enough to 1 to slow this thing down to a manageable level. Please plan accordingly, in a non-panicked manner…before it is too late. 

AND an updated reading list for those interested:

Exponential growth explanation: https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1236095180459003909.html

Deep dive into the data: https://emcrit.org/ibcc/COVID19/

The basics: https://www.sciencenews.org/…/coronavirus-cases-deaths-coun…

Proof I don’t just make shit up: https://www.thelancet.com/…/Lancet/pdfs/S014067362305663.pdf

Testing is going great in the US…not:  https://www.theatlantic.com/…/how-many-americans-ha…/607597/

Frontline observations from China: https://www.reddit.com/…/the_who_sent_25_international_exp…/

R0-Contagiousness:  https://www.popsci.com/story/health/how-diseases-spread/

The reason I based my first novel on a pandemic (title of article says it all): https://www.vox.com/…/86602…/bill-gates-spanish-flu-pandemic

For those with more time on their hands than me: https://medium.com/…/coronavirus-synchronous-failure-and-th…

For those of you that made it this far…YES, I should be writing a book right now, but I’m trying to keep you and your peeps alive and well. And I’m happy to do it.

MARCH 11

PLEASE READ THE ACCOUNT BELOW FROM A DOCTOR ON THE FRONT LINES IN ITALY. I’ve heard similar reports from other doctors interviewed on NPR or other news agencies. 

***IF THIS POST IS TOO LONG FOR YOU, CLICK THE ARTICLE FOR THE HIGHLIGHTS. 

https://nypost.com/2020/03/10/italian-doctor-at-heart-of-illness-shares-chilling-coronavirus-thoughts/

***IF THAT’S TOO MUCH, HERE’S THE BOTTOM LINE:

1.) What’s happening in Italy is unlike anything these doctors have ever seen. THIS IS NOT JUST THE FLU. The flu doesn’t crush healthcare systems in a few weeks. The Lombardy region is industrialized and the system is decent by all standards. Not perfect, but let’s face it…neither is ours. 

2.) The elderly (70 and above) are AT MUCH HIGHER RISK of permanent organ damage or death from COVID19 than the seasonal flu. Preparing now for the scenario described below will save thousands of their lives.

3.) Young people have been hospitalized and put in the ICU, in much lower numbers, but on to #3.

4.) ICU beds and critical care equipment (ventilators) in Italy are at capacity. Your 8 year old who develops symptoms will not get a bed here once they are filled by the older people who will present severe symptoms far sooner. TRIAGE will go into effect. Your child is very, very likely to survive by being sent home with care instructions…the old person isn’t. Same for you if you’re under 60. Hospitals will prioritize those most at risk. That’s TRIAGE. One of the Italian doctors interviewed stated that only under the most unusual circumstances will SOMEONE UNDER 65-without complications-BE ADMITTED TO THE HOSPITAL.

5.) The US has one of the unhealthiest populations in the world. Italians have an average life expectancy FIVE years longer than Americans. That’s significant. Tons of reasons why, but there’s no point in getting into that. It’s fair to say that your average Italian boomer is healthier than a U.S. boomer. COVID19 will hit our older population just as hard or harder—IF WE ALL DON’T ACT RESPONSIBLY. 

DON’T PANIC. JUST TAKE SOME BASIC PRECAUTIONS. THE MOST IMPORTANT BEING——SOCIAL DISTANCING IN ITS MANY FORMS.

MARCH 12

I WILL BE SHARING MORE POSTS LIKE THIS. The danger is real, but there’s a right way to approach it and manage it. My guess is that Dr. Hal Cohen‘s approach will become, or already is, the norm. A robust testing capacity is at the heart of a sound and effective strategy. S. Korea has already turned the tide. Let’s hope it’s not too late here. And let’s keep the safety of our front line of defense in mind. The more we understand how the front line is fighting this, the better we can manage our own expectations if we suspect we’ve been infected. 

From Dr. Cohen: 

Now that SARS-CoV2 is confirmed to be in Maine, I was asked about the testing protocol.

Here is my reply:

What we are being told makes little sense to me

I am pissed

We need to be testing like south Korea did

Right now they are telling us for people who have fever and a cough but who otherwise do not feel all that sick to stay home and go out and about once they feel better

Makes no sense

We should be testing them

The virus sheds for 7 to 12 days. So if these people with mild disease feel better in three days and return to work ( though they are less contagious than at the outset ) they are still contagious

We need MORE testing, not less

The problem is if we test everyone we would overwhelm our ERs. They would be tied up or if we brought everyone into the office we’d be excessively exposing people to the virus in our waiting rooms even though we are slapping a mask on them ASAP and getting them into a room ASAP

We need to set up a system whereby we are testing people in their home or like they did in South Korea, at designated stations which limited contact brilliantly

This needs to be initiated by public health and local government, however, because it needs funding in order for us to test maximally

The bottom line is we are doing this not for the otherwise healthy young person or middle aged person, but to protect the elderly and the frail who are at risk for hospitalization or death. I love that Tom hanks and Rita Wilson have the virus. They are mildly ill. THAT IS THE NORM!!!! So truly stop panicking!!!!!!! We need to act appropriately to protect those who are at high risk!

If people call us, this office, with a fever and cough or shortness of breath I’m bringing them in right now. I will assess them to see if they have the flu or strep throat or a sinus infection ( if yes, no further work up is needed ) . But if I can’t fine another cause, then I need to call the hospital’s infectious disease department to ask if this is an appropriate case for testing. And then, as of March 12, I call the ER where they bring the patient into a proper isolation room dedicated for safe evaluation and testing. MOST of these people will test NEGATIVE

So that’s I am doing, that’s what we are being told to do, and that’s what we should be doing.

Christopher Kessler, should the public contact their representatives? How do we proceed politically to get this done correctly?

Bottom line – do not go to the ER unless you have significant shortness of breath and call ahead! Do not go to a walk in clinic without calling ahead! Do now show up at your primary care docs office unless you call ahead. You only need to be tested if you have FEVER and a COUGH or SHORTNESS of BREATH or a SORE THROAT (in some cases). You need to tell us in advance so we can put a mask on you ASAP. Thanks.

If you have the sniffles, congestion, a cough, sinus ache, but no fever, do not call us. We’re going to be sort of busy
I love you all

Now what did I say?

Act appropriately.

And do not panic.

I’m not. And I’m right in the middle of the sh*t
: )

Have a nice day

MARCH 15

PLEASE KEEP THIS IN MIND WHILE PREPARING YOUR HOUSEHOLD. 

Top U.S. health officials say the coronavirus crisis and disruptions could last up to 8 weeks. Based on what we’re seeing in Italy, along with the rest of continental Europe—AND the fact that even the extremely limited data compiled in the U.S. strongly suggests we are on the same “crash course” or very likely worse—I THINK THIS IS A FAIR ASSESSMENT BY OUR TOP PANDEMIC EXPERTS. 

Does that mean you need 8 weeks of food now, instead of the suggested 2 weeks? THE ANSWER IS IRRELEVANT AT THIS POINT. The stores are picked clean. 

WHAT YOU CAN DO IS PLAN AHEAD—BY ORDERING STAPLES ONLINE TODAY. The supply chain is strained right now by the high demand, but it will trickle staples back into the system. ORDERING TODAY, even if the projected “in stock” date is two to four weeks out (which I’ve seen all over the internet), does two things. 

1.) It gives you the ability to weather an extended crisis without having to stand in line for 8 hours to get a rationed amount of supplies (THAT’S HAPPENING RIGHT NOW IN EUROPE).

2.) It gives the supply chain the ability better manage their distribution. This is what they do best. It’s also why the stores are empty right now (On Demand Supply Chain) with nothing in back to restock them, but that’s a different story for a different time. 

For those that read this far, Amazon still has some dry food availability. Can’t be picky at this point. Staples. 

Split peas–> https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B085TFLDFT

Brown basmati rice –> https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004A1A956

Garbanzo beans (make hummus or eat them seasoned)–> https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001PEWJWC

MARCH 15

COVID19 can infect all age groups. Take a look at this graph. In South Korea (ROK), where they tested all ages and tested extensively, they found it MORE IN YOUNG ADULTS. In Italy, they focused testing on the more vulnerable, like we are here (the few tests we’ve done).

Young people are being admitted to ICU’s throughout Spain and France in larger numbers than expected. Their prognosis for survival is good to great, but a severe lung infection requiring ventilation can permanently damage your lungs. 

It’s a lifelong payment plan…that gets worse with age. We all lose lung function as we get older. I think the estimate is one liter of lung capacity lost by age 65 in a healthy person. You start out with 6 as an adult. SO…6-2 is 4, minus another liter naturally (assuming you don’t lose capacity faster because of the damage)…Leaves you with half of your current lung capacity AT 65. That’s an FEV1 of 50 percent, or Stage III COPD. Not too far away from what they call END STAGE COPD. 

End stage COPD=NO QUALITY OF LIFE.

March 16

How seriously is your state taking the COVID19 pandemic? Disclaimer: Many counties and local municipalities have taken many of these measures on their own, despite state inaction.

MARCH 18

Murray Hamilton, Roy Scheider and Richard Dreyfuss.

THIS IS HOW I’VE FELT FOR TWO MONTHS. For the record, I’m Hooper.

MARCH 19

A MUST READ: 

If the CDC hasn’t already come to an arrangement with Kinsa health to utilize this tool, then there is something entirely wrong with the CDC….and when this is over, every leader in the CDC should be fired…if not criminally prosecuted…assuming that doesn’t happen regardless. 

We have the technologies. They’re either already in use or they’ve been offered to us (WHO testing kits). Only ONE THING has stood in the way of managing this properly. Our GOVERNMENT.

MARCH 20

We’re just deploying the Strategic National Stockpile now? Interesting that this was NEVER mentioned in a press briefing (that I recall). 

I wrote about these in 2010 in The Jakarta Pandemic: 

“Hospitals and medical facilities in the heaviest hit metro areas are operating at near full capacity. HHS officials estimate that the nation’s hospitals will likely reach or exceed surge capacity by the middle of the week and have taken steps to deploy all remaining Federal Medical Stations to the hardest hit areas.

“Three of these stations have already been established in New York City, and one is operational in Los Angeles. Furthermore, HHS officials have assured state governments that all remaining Strategic National Stockpile assets have been slated for the soonest possible delivery to individual states.”

Federal Medical Stations can be deployed to hotspots. Have those been deployed to handle overload…or maybe to handle non-COVID19 patients? IS ANYONE COMPETENT MAKING DECISIONS? This stuff should have been deployed WEEKS AGO. 

Check this out: ftp://ftp.cdc.gov/pub/MCMTraining/FMS/FMS%20Fact%20Sheet.pdf

MARCH 21

Of course the intelligence community did! Nobody could possibly believe that a handful of authors (nod to Russell Blake), who wrote pandemic books, and the general readiness (prepper) community (nod to Randy Powers) were the only ones that saw this coming more than two months ago. 

Contrary to the WH narrative ***”Nobody saw this coming”*** EVERYBODY WITH ANY EXPERTISE OR KNOWLEDGE OF THE SUBJECT SAW IT COMING!

***INCLUDING the army of scientific and medical experts who have been warning the WH for months***

THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU DISMISS EXPERTS and GO WITH YOUR GUT ON A TOPIC YOU KNOW NOTHING ABOUT.

IT’S CALLED GAMBLING. And the White House bet it all on RED (purposeful use of the word RED) based on a HUNCH. And the roulette ball stopped on BLACK. 

EVEN WORSE, THEY PLACED THAT BET FOR ALL OF US! 

P.S. The WH didn’t just gamble…it goes deeper than that. They purposefully delayed taking action—thinking they could save the Titanic and their own political and economic keisters.

MARCH 21

ONE OF MY FINAL PSA’S REGARDING COVID19 (unless something game changing arises):

STAY HOME, unless you are running essential household missions (food, pharmacy, critical repairs, etc) OR you are working in an environment that doesn’t put you at risk of infection (you decide). 

IF YOU GET INFECTED TODAY, and you get critically or severely sick (estimated 20%)—YOU MOST LIKELY WILL NOT GET THE CARE YOU NEED TO RECOVER. The last golden ticket for a ventilator was handed out some time a week or more ago. The virus has been spreading quietly for weeks at this point. DON’T RISK IT. 

THERE’S NO DOWNSIDE TO PLAYING IT SAFE. IF I’M WRONG—ALONG WITH EVERY OTHER CREDIBLE VIROLOGY EXPERT, DISEASE EPIDEMIOLOGIST AND PUBLIC HEALTHCARE EXPERT—I’ll gladly eat crow so to speak. I’ll be relieved, frankly. Like Dr. Fauci said…THIS IS THE TIME TO OVERREACT. 

DON’T COUNT ON A BREAKTHROUGH. The medicines they are experimenting with may help…LATER. They won’t be available in the quantities needed soon. JUST ASSUME THAT. 

MARCH 22

I had fully intended to give everyone a break today, but this article is CRITICAL. https://medium.com/@tomaspueyo/coronavirus-the-hammer-and-the-dance-be9337092b56

The HAMMER is our only choice at this point…so the DANCE is a slow waltz…not a breakdance or mosh pit scene. 

SUMMARY OF THE ARTICLE: Strong coronavirus measures today should only last a few weeks, there shouldn’t be a big peak of infections afterwards, and it can all be done for a reasonable cost to society, saving millions of lives along the way. If we don’t take these measures, TENS OF MILLIONS will be infected, many will die, along with anybody else that requires intensive care, because the HEALTHCARE SYSTEM WILL HAVE COLLAPSED.

MARCH 23

Because all of you want to track COVID19 just as closely as I do. 

TRACKING COVID19

MARCH 23

This is the first time I’ve breathed a little easier in about a month. Indiana’s governor has issued a “stay at home” order, to be enforced by the State Police working with local authorities. SHELTER IN PLACE. 

CHECK OUT THE PUBLIC RESOURCE BELOW (shows outcomes of various responses…from none to Wuhan level lockdown) AND CONTACT YOUR STATE GOVERNOR’S OFFICE!

https://covidactnow.org

MARCH 23

Even Boris Johnson gets it. I hope this is contagious.

MARCH 24

Over half of the U.S. population ordered by their states to SHELTER IN PLACE. Notice any trends?

MARCH 26

Or maybe a virus that is still several weeks away from peaking, and will almost certainly overwhelm medicals systems in every state—IS THE DOMINANT FORCE?

Or an administration that either purposefully or obtusely delayed taking the necessary actions to mitigate the impact of the virus—IS THE DOMINANT FORCE?

https://www.politico.com/…/trump-coronavirus-national-secur…

Or maybe the President and news outlets that pushed his “this is not a big deal” narrative through the first week of March —IS THE DOMINANT FORCE?

https://www.nytimes.com/…/03/15/opin…/trump-coronavirus.html

MARCH 27

I’m limiting myself to one serious post per day about the pandemic. I think this one is critically important for those on the fence about “the numbers.” 

1. Pay close attention to what Dr. Fauci says—WHEN HE’S OUTSIDE of the daily White House press conference. He’s frequently appearing on different media outlets. The difference is night and day from my perspective. He’s obviously constrained during the White House pressers…not so much on the outside.

2. Pay LITTLE TO NO ATTENTION to Dr. Birx right now. Check the first comments on this post for an explanation. She’s in a far tougher spot than Dr. Fauci. 

WHY DO I SAY THIS? The UK data modeling hubbub is not a hubbub at all. It’s being opportunistically mischaracterized by the WH to downplay the impact of the pandemic on the U.S. It’s being used to reject Governor Cuomo’s request for ventilators…it’s being used to justify the WH’s “reopen the nation by Easter or soon thereafter” narrative.

Here’s what the Director of J-IDEA and the MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis, the modeler who presented the data to the UK parliament had to say about recent interpretations of their revised data. SEE BELOW.

The key? The revised data presented “to Parliament referred to the deaths we assess might occur in the UK in the presence of the very intensive social distancing and other public health interventions now in place.”

In other words, he’s saying…NOW THAT WE’VE IMPLEMENTED INTENSE SOCIAL DISTANCING AND OTHER PUBLIC HEALTH INTERVENTIONS…the outlook is significantly better. 

THE UK IS IN A FULL NATIONAL LOCKDOWN. THE US IS NOT. HIS REVISED DATA DOES NOT APPLY HERE, OUTSIDE OF THE IMPACT THAT WILL BE MADE BY A NOT INSIGNIFICANT PATCHWORK OF LOCAL AND STATE EFFORTS.

MARCH 27

Dug through my bookmarks to find this one. Jan 30th.

It aged well—VERY SADLY.

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/01/now-trump-needs-deep-state-fight-coronavirus/605752/

MARCH 28

This is…NOT…encouraging. Cell phone tracking used to access impact of pandemic lockdown efforts show a stark difference between Rome (with a fairly complete lockdown) and Seattle. Also shows that U.S. spring breakers dispersed throughout the U.S. east coast and midwest during what can only be assumed to be the middle of the peak infection time. 

CLICK HERE to see comparison between three cities. Shanghai, Rome and Seattle —>

https://xmode.io/location-data-in-action-heatmaps-help-track-coronavirus-across-the-globe/

MARCH 28

I wish our government had some kind of Pandemic Response playbook that streamlined and simplified the federal response from the initial detection of a PPP (pathogen of pandemic potential) anywhere in the world to its arrival and spread in the United States. Something leadership could pick up, thumb through…and within minutes determine what needs to happen to effectively combat a pandemic. 

What? It already exists? It was created by the outgoing administration’s fully staffed NSC global health security team and handed to the current administration’s team and then briefed to the White House…which shortly thereafter diluted the team in a cost-saving effort? 

If you have any doubt that the White House bungled the pandemic response, YOU OWE IT TO YOURSELF TO READ THIS 69 PAGE DOCUMENT. IT’S EMBEDDED IN THE ARTICLE DIRECTLY BELOW…you can also download it from the article. 

https://www.politico.com/…/trump-coronavirus-national-secur…

I’ll summarize it if you don’t want to dig into the matrixes provided. 

IT’S NOW THE END OF MARCH AND THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT HAS BARELY SCRATCHED THE SURFACE OF WHAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN EXECUTED TWO MONTHS AGO. A PANDEMIC IS A NATIONAL LEVEL EVENT—THE PREPARATION AND COORDINATION OF THE RESPONSE IS THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT’S RESPONSIBILITY. 

Pay close attention to the DOMESTIC PLAYBOOK Section. Page 31.

2a. Everything in this section should have been triggered in mid to late January, when China locked down several cities. That’s publicly available information. Imagine when and what the intel community was telling the administration. My guess is a lot more…a lot earlier. NATIONWIDE PPE DISTRIBUTION PLANS FALL UNDER THIS SECTION. 

2b. The first case was identified in the U.S. on January 21st. Every disease epidemiologist and expert quickly warned, in rapid succession, that the virus was here and was spreading. EVEN I ASSUMED THIS TO BE THE CASE. At a minimum, everything in this section should have been initiated by the end of January. STRATEGIC STOCKPILE AND DEFENSE PRODUCTION ACT CONSIDERATIONS FALL UNDER THIS SECTION…among other things.

MARCH 28

I wrote similar articles in 2014 regarding Ebola (one during and one when it died down). 

EBOLA PART ONE

EBOLA PART TWO

I was not happy with the government’s response. I was very clear about that. THIS IS NOT A PARTISAN ISSUE FOR ME. I think we dodged a bullet in 2014, because Ebola is ILL SUITED FOR EPIDEMIC LEVEL SPREAD IN A FIRST WORLD NATION. 

The ebola crisis demonstrated that the federal government really didn’t have its act together to effectively handle a PANDEMIC. Neither did the administration before that. 

THAT’S WHY THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION CREATED THE PANDEMIC PLAYBOOK (INCORPORATING LESSONS LEARNED) FOR FUTURE USE. 

Because it was never a matter of IF a lethal pandemic would sweep the globe, it was a matter of WHEN. 

THE CAPTAIN IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE SHIP. PERIOD.

And we have CAPTAIN QUEEG still counting strawberries. Some of you will get that one. 

March 30

IN ONE MONTH WE WENT FROM

The President saying. “[W]hen you have 15 people (cases), and the 15 within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero, that’s a pretty good job we’ve done.” Feb 26th

TO 

Dr. Birx saying. “…the worst case scenario is 1.6 million to 2.2 million. That’s a prediction if we do nothing. If we do things together, well, almost perfectly, we can get in the range of 100,000 to 200,000 fatalities.” Mar 29th

Perfectly from this moment forward? Who’s the “WE” she’s referring to? The government? The people? Both? She followed up with examples of how the population is no where close to handling this perfectly and that some states haven’t implemented strict stay at home orders, so I’m guessing she means the population. I sense a shift of blame here, but that may be my conspiracy thriller mind at work. 

EITHER WAY. 100-200K fatalities if we do things perfectly. 1.6 to 2.2 million if we don’t. I’m not even going to hazard a public guess at the number. What’s the point? We all know it’s going to be somewhere between perfect and do nothing. 

STAY HOME. FOR YOUR OWN SAKE AND THE SAKE OF OTHERS.

THE POWER TO PUSH THE NUMBER IN EITHER DIRECTION IS IN YOUR HANDS.

MARCH 31

1.) I always assumed the pandemic numbers released by China were deeply flawed. They publicly denied human to human transmission until at least Jan 15th, when anyone with a working brain could tell that was nonsense.


2.) Once the numbers started building in S. Korea during mid February and built up steam by the end of the month, it was obvious by the exponential growth that China’s numbers were pure fiction. Drastically underreported. I was still able to use those rosy numbers to warn friends, readers and family here. Even the fake numbers spelled catastrophe in the U.S.


3.) When Italy and other far more modernized healthcare systems started reporting unchecked exponential growth,(China’s healthcare system looks sleek…and they built a few hospitals in record time, but for the squalid poor masses-vast majority of the nation-the system is anything but modern)—I significantly increased the tone of my warnings.


4.) I tossed China’s data out the window about three weeks ago. Any predictive model based on that data is flawed…in that it paints a far too kind picture of the pandemic’s impact.


I’ve followed Dr. Feigl-Ding for a while…he and several other disease epidemiologists have informed my opinion on the matter from the beginning. He has yet to be wrong about this pandemic.


Article here: –> https://www.rfa.org/english/news/china/wuhan-deaths-03272020182846.html

APRIL 1

THE GASLIGHTING IS STRONG THESE DAYS.

Over and over again, I’m hearing a new narrative designed to entirely shift the responsibility AND BLAME for the White House’s feeble pandemic response—onto the individual states and the population. Not so fast.

FIRST…coordinating an effective response to a pandemic is entirely the responsibility of the federal government. That’s right out of the Pandemic Playbook still collecting dust somewhere in the White House.
This is a national emergency. If a hostile country landed a battalion of their marines on a Florida beach, the federal government wouldn’t defer to the state of Florida to handle the crisis…only stepping in when the states asked for help. This pandemic has ALWAYS BEEN KNOWN BY EXPERTS to pose the same level of national threat to our population, economy and security as a major war. The biggest threat since World War II…are the words being used by economists, the UN and every credible predictive modeler in the world. A lethal, efficient pandemic virus demands a coordinated federal response.
The administration botched the initial and ongoing response BADLY. There is no other way to interpret it. Trump said over and over again it was a hoax. So did GOP lawmakers.

I could cite hundreds of examples of how they downplayed it because they didn’t take it seriously or purposefully denied it was happening…for whatever reason. Reelection worries. Democratic hoax. On and on. It’s all recorded and very clear. Trump still denies saying stuff today that he said yesterday. He’s a disaster and his public response has been entirely predictable. What has happened up until now and will happen in the next few months was entirely predictable. I expected nothing else, which is why I started sounding the warning back in February.

He botched whatever could be controlled in a situation like this as badly as he could, and a solid portion of the nation still doesn’t think this is a big deal because of what he’s consistently been saying up until a few days ago. His administration scores a zero for handling what could have been handled under this complex scenario. Fauci and Birx have only recently gotten through to him. That much is painfully clear.

All of that said—In the absence of any coherent or consistent federal guidance/declarations (the case so far), the STATES do have the responsibility to enact and enforce strict measures to mitigate the impact of the pandemic (shelter in place orders) and the POPULATION does has the responsibility to abide by these orders. Several states still haven’t taken effective action. Some have taken none. And too many people don’t seem to understand the gravity of the situation. My guess is that they’re looking for some strong guidance and leadership from the White House—which has been entirely lacking from the start.

History will look back at the Trump administration as EXACTLY what not to do in the face of a pandemic that you could see coming for months.

APRIL 1

WHAT?! Who could have seen this one coming? Other than anyone with a calculator, and the most basic knowledge of disease transmission, who over the past two months has looked back at China’s public claim on January 14 that they found no evidence of human to human transmission and found that a LITTLE HARD TO BELIEVE.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-04-01/china-concealed-extent-of-virus-outbreak-u-s-intelligence-says

APRIL 2

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/military/navy-expected-relieve-captain-who-raised-alarm-about-covid-19-n1175351

And in about three weeks, when one of our forward deployed aircraft carriers is unable to execute its mission, because even our “top brass” doesn’t seem to understand how the virus works…they’ll relieve everyone else in the chain of command.

I understand that the Theodore Roosevelt is a vital national security asset and taking it out of commission for 3 weeks by evacuating the crew from a packed Petri dish seems drastic, but the same strategies to flatten the curve in a country, state, county, city, household…apply to a 4,000 sailor carrier. At least this commanding officer can go to sleep at night knowing he did everything possible to save the lives of the sailors serving under him. 

I’m not sure how anyone in Trump’s administration could catch as much as a cat’s nap these days.

APRIL 3

Unless the definition of the Strategic National Stockpile has changed significantly since I researched it over a decade ago…Nope…the U.S. Public Health Emergency site governing the SNS still states:

“When state, local, tribal, and territorial responders request federal assistance to support their response efforts, the stockpile ensures that the right medicines and supplies get to those who need them most during an emergency. Organized for scalable response to a variety of public health threats, this repository contains enough supplies to respond to multiple large-scale emergencies simultaneously.”

This is why you don’t put a trust fund baby, faux-failed business person (whose parents’ bribed an elite university to get their middle to low average kid in) and public grifter in charge of a pandemic response. Or anything beyond picking out their shoes for the day. I’m talking about Jared Kushner, though the description also applies to his father-in-law.

Sadly, I think the 240K high end fatality estimate is generous given what I heard yesterday.

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/jared-kushner-stockpile_n_5e86dca8c5b6a949183425ca

APRIL 3

The Ministry of Truth speaks. The government just modified the wording on Public Health Emergency page that describes the purpose of OUR National Strategic Stockpile. This is what it stated around 7AM. I copied at pasted this directly from the website.

“When state, local, tribal, and territorial responders request federal assistance to support their response efforts, the stockpile ensures that the right medicines and supplies get to those who need them most during an emergency. Organized for scalable response to a variety of public health threats, this repository contains enough supplies to respond to multiple large-scale emergencies simultaneously.”

Check out the very convenient difference. 

We’ve now reached the point where the White House thinks they can just change reality to fit whatever nonsense they’ve been peddling.

APRIL 5

DISCOVER SCI-FI publishes article Steven Konkoly on Predicting the COVID19 Pandemic.

APRIL 6

Why reinvent the wheel.

Every word of former Republican strategist Rick Wilson’s article. And he does have a way with words.

“When tested by the fire of crisis, Trump showed us what he’s always been: a weak, spoiled, intellectually vacant conman who has stumbled through a life of betrayal and failure papered over by bullshit and public relations.”

“Trump must face blame for the viral Chernobyl that is rolling over our population now; the one thing you never get back when fighting an epidemic is time. He spent weeks spinning that Coronavirus/COVID-10 was no big deal, and that there was no crisis about to scythe through our nation.”

https://www.thedailybeast.com/you-cheered-as-he-fucked-up-no-take-backs-trumpists

APRIL 7

IMPORTANT TO CONSIDER WHEN DETERMINING QUARANTINE FOR SUSPECTED OR CONFIRMED COVID19 PATIENTS.

As a writer with what might previously (not now) have been considered an unhealthy interest in disease epidemiology, I’ve been following a number of disease epidemiologists on Twitter for quite a while. Dr. Eric Feigl-Ding called this pandemic back long before most of his colleagues. His latest thread suggests a longer quarantine period than 14 days for anyone potentially exposed to COVID19. 

He also points out what we’ve known since the end of February. Infected patients can shed virus for several days or even a few weeks after recovering. 

“Recent studies from China & Europe showed that people can shed #COVID19 virus well after recovery. One study- researchers found cases shedding the virus for a median of 20 days after they got sick, half of them were shedding for even longer periods – the longest was 37 days.”

https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1247206316814336002.html?fbclid=IwAR0mu7XewX7hSgdVwvglr4_ovStbWPwbdOFuBBolGVifPFGBpQ5Jzrxz56c

APRIL 9

This report underscores how little we know about this novel coronavirus, and the critical importance of giving science, the medical field and disease epidemiologists the proper interval of time to study the virus and adequately inform/advise publicly elected officials about a responsible course of action moving forward.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-04-09/coronavirus-may-reactivate-in-cured-patients-korean-cdc-says

APRIL 13

HAPPY MONDAY! 

If you’re looking for something to read today, may I suggest 80 pages of an email chain started by the chief medical officer at the Department of Homeland Security, Dr. Duane C. Caneva— “to provide thoughts, concerns, raise issues, share information across various colleagues responding to Covid-19,” including medical experts and doctors from the Health and Human Services Department, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Homeland Security Department, the Veterans Affairs Department, the Pentagon and other federal agencies tracking the historic health emergency.

RED DAWN ARTICLE

The emails look very similar to many of the discussions I had with a core group of friends who tracked the pandemic since January. 

The inescapable conclusion from these emails?

ALL THE WAY BACK TO JANUARY—EVERYONE AT THE HIGHEST LEVELS OF OUR PUBLIC HEALTHCARE AND DISEASE RESPONSE SYSTEM KNEW THAT THE PANDEMIC WAS GOING TO HIT THE U.S. VERY HARD. 

AND THEY REPEATEDLY WARNED THE WHITE HOUSE AND CDC THAT NOT NEARLY ENOUGH WAS BEING DONE. 

AND ALMOST NOTHING WAS DONE UNTIL IT WAS FAR TOO LATE.

APRIL 13

I GUARANTEE THIS WILL BE THE FUNNIEST (in a grim way) THING YOU WATCH ALL MONTH. Peter Navarro, White House economic advisor, challenges 60 Minutes on their pandemic history. This guy is actually in charge of shit!

What’s even funnier, is that Navarro actually sent the WH at least one memo in January essentially warning that the coronavirus would kill millions and cost the economy trillions if we didn’t take it seriously. 

You can’t make this stuff up! As a fiction writer, I’m upstaged daily.

APRIL 14

I am continually asked in public and in private…why don’t I move on? Why keep pointing the finger at the White House? I’m told…this is so unproductive…we need to move on.


The RED DAWN EMAILS superimposed over the entirely incompetent, and quite frankly criminally negligent, response by the White House embody my answer.


When I wrote a frighteningly similar scenario in my first novel…back in 2008-2010, I scoured every document produced on how our government would respond to a pandemic. Most of them were written by the same government that intended to implement them…with input from hundreds of experts. Many of them very familiar names. Fauci. Lawler. The list goes on. These dedicated experts have been doing this for decades.


The conclusion I drew was that we had a solid plan…so I wrote that into my novel. Why would I expect anything different? You open the documents early and start the process. The plan was designed that way for a reason. Time is of the essence in a pandemic.


In my novel, the U.S. government did the best it could with the properly vetted plan that actually existed and still exists today, but because I didn’t want a boring novel where everything worked out just fine, I let the virus run amok.


The difference between my novel and todays reality…is that the White House ignored the pandemic playbooks and the experts…and THEY LET THE VIRUS RUN AMOK.

APRIL 14

I’ve received some good questions and healthy criticism regarding the RED DAWN email participants frustration with the European travel ban announced on March 11. You can see a condensed version of their exchange below. Dr. Lawler is particularly outspoken. 

To understand their frustration, you have to pour through their emails to see what they were actively recommending for more than 30 days prior to the travel ban AND you also have to understand the early phases of an effective pandemic response. CONTAINMENT and MITIGATION.

CONTAINMENT is one of the earliest phases, and all actions during that phase are designed to prevent or minimize the intrusion of the virus into a population. When CONTAINMENT fails, you switch into MITIGATION. For a good look at MITIGATION, check out California and Washington State. By all measures, they should have a catastrophe on their hands, but they don’t. They made the shift in key locations at the right time. On to the rest of the story.

The White House’s travel ban aimed at China could be classified as a good attempt at CONTAINMENT, if more than 40,000 travelers hadn’t been allowed to travel from China to the U.S. after it was enacted. The virus was undoubtedly already here before the ban, particularly up and down the West Coast, but likely not in the wild numbers we ended up seeing on the East Coast. 

Fast forward almost forty days to the European travel ban. By this point, experts had been flailing their hands and arms trying to get the White House to shift from CONTAINMENT TO MITIGATION. Based on those forty days of data (plus data from China) and all of their expertise, they correctly estimated that the virus was already widespread throughout the United States. To them, containment efforts like international travel bans were pointless, unless the same bans were enacted on state levels. 

Their concern was two-fold, 1.) the WH was still focused on CONTAINMENT instead of domestic mitigation (closures, PPE distribution, readying hospitals, shelter in place orders). The experts had been pushing these measures since the middle of February. The wrong focus would prove costly, and they knew it. 2.) the travel ban (which didn’t include Americans) would bring Americans home in droves from Europe. We all saw the scenes at O’Hare and various airports. The ban dropped a virus bomb on the country, on top of the what was already brewing. 

Forensic genome tracking proved that the majority of NYC cases originated in Europe and had been circulating since mid-February. The experts didn’t need this forensic evidence to predict that was the case. It was a basic pandemic assumption that anyone with pandemic knowledge would make. 

Which is why they started pushing for strong MITIGATION efforts across the nation starting in mid-February. 

RIGHT NOW, THE PANDEMIC CURVE MAY BE FLATTENING..BUT IMAGINE HOW IT WOULD HAVE LOOKED IF YOU BACKED UP THE STATE MITIGATION EFFORTS ROUGHLY ONE MONTH AGO. 

This isn’t a HIND SIGHT IS 20/20 SITUATION. We are where we are because expertise and meticulous planning for a pandemic was ignored until it was WAY TOO LATE. 

BTW, I’d love to see a scientist or two on the OPEN UP THE COUNTRY TRIBUNAL. They might be able to make a suggestion or two.

APRIL 15

A sobering but hopeful read. 

“Everyone wants to know when this will end,” said Devi Sridhar, a public-health expert at the University of Edinburgh. “That’s not the right question. The right question is: How do we continue?”

“I think people haven’t understood that this isn’t about the next couple of weeks,” said Michael Osterholm, an infectious-disease epidemiologist at the University of Minnesota. “This is about the next two years.”

https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2020/04/pandemic-summer-coronavirus-reopening-back-normal/609940/

APRIL 17

OUT OF EVERYTHING I’VE POSTED, THIS ARTICLE CARRIES THE MOST IMPORTANT MESSAGE FOR US TO UNDERSTAND, FOLLOW AND SPREAD FROM THIS DAY FORWARD.

https://www.theautomaticearth.com/…/the-only-man-who-has-a…/

It’s a fairly long article and you may need to read it a few times for the principles and message to sink in (I read it several times)…BUT IT’S IMPERATIVE THAT WE ALL GIVE IT A SHOT. 

It captures what I’ve felt on a gut level since January, but admittedly, couldn’t put into proper words or context—because I was focused on epidemiological models, WHICH ONLY GET US SO FAR. NOT FAR ENOUGH. 

Also, because I’m not as smart as these engineers and scientists…and I haven’t studied complex systems and risk engineering for decades. In other words, I was at a slight disadvantage. 

(For the record, some epidemiologists got this right. I know, because I follow their work.)

I also encourage you to check out their websites, particularly, Yaneer Bar-Yam’s EndCoronavirus.org –>> https://www.endcoronavirus.org

SOME KEY POINTS from the article:

***”What is happening right now is not because all the epidemiologists and virologists around the world are wrong, but because they’re asked to make decisions and construct models about something they don’t know nearly enough about.”

***”….if you have a disease that is both contagious and deadly, you don’t -have to- first wait and (build a model to) see how deadly and contagious it is, as an epidemiologist is wont to do, you can act right off the bat. Of course the scientists at the WHO and various government know this basic stuff, but they still haven’t acted accordingly.”

***”It will cost something to reduce mobility in the short term, but to fail do so will eventually cost everything—if not from this event, then one in the future. Outbreaks are inevitable, but an appropriately precautionary response can mitigate systemic risk to the globe at large. But policy- and decision-makers must act swiftly and avoid the fallacy that to have an appropriate respect for uncertainty in the face of possible irreversible catastrophe amounts to “paranoia,” or the converse a belief that nothing can be done.”

***”When one deals with deep uncertainty, both governance and precaution require us to hedge for the worst. While risk-taking is a business that is left to individuals, collective safety and systemic risk are the business of the state. Failing that mandate of prudence by gambling with the lives of citizens is a professional wrongdoing that extends beyond academic mistake; it is a violation of the ethics of governing. The obvious policy left now is a lockdown, with overactive testing and contact tracing: follow the evidence from China and South Korea rather than thousands of error-prone computer codes.”

APRIL 17

One final thought for Friday, before I sign off. The retail and public consumer “economy” will not return to close to its original levels until this virus is mostly eradicated from our lives. Period. Contrary to what we are being led to believe by a ghoulish minority…many people either directly or indirectly understand what they need to do to proactively manage their risk of infection in a death plague. 

“OpenTable bookings had declined 70% before US restaurants were closed.”

“Swedish movie theaters are open but revenues are down 90%.”

“When will government open up the economy?” is the wrong question. Open doors and no customers is not an economy!”

https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1250740323120230405.html

APRIL 25

TIME TO SWITCH GEARS and shift pandemic related efforts in a different direction. Facebook served as an effective platform to sound the alarm and help friends, readers and the general public SOMEWHAT prepare for the initial impact of COVID19.

As time moved on, we all found ourselves in what I call THE IN BETWEEN. Still looking back at mistakes that can’t be undone, while trying to focus on preventing mistakes tomorrow and getting on with our “new” lives. And when I say tomorrow…I truly mean THE NEXT DAY.

I FEEL LIKE WE’VE ENTERED A NEW PHASE, WHERE MOST OF OUR ENERGY needs to be focused on the future. MOST. NOT ALL. This doesn’t mean forgetting or ignoring the entirely inexcusable and ongoing lack of leadership from the White House.

IT MEANS SPENDING LESS ENERGY ON WHAT HAS ALREADY PASSED AND MORE ON WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE MOVING FORWARD.

I didn’t just come up with this “idea” today. I’ve been working on this with a likeminded group of friends for the past week to create–> https://covid19-trustinscience.com
A STAND ALONE RESOURCE (AWAY FROM FACEBOOK) TO PRESENT THE MOST UPDATED, ACCURATE INFORMATION ABOUT OUR ONGOING PANDEMIC CRISIS—UPDATED DAILY.

We’ll use Facebook to give you a quick, commentary free summary of updates.

You’ll be able to easily sort through several categories to get what you want out of it.

AND YES, the site will still include CRITICAL ARTICLES. We will actively DEBUNK the latest nonsense…if AND ASSUREDLY WHEN it arises.
PLEASE SHARE THIS FAR AND WIDE!

https://covid19-trustinscience.com

TRACKING COVID19

As I shift more and more from a WARN to WATCH posture (I’ve always been watching), I’d like to share some resources you can use to keep an eye on big picture and local developments:

Have fun scaring the hell out of yourself!

FREE BOOKS TO PASS THE TIME IN QUARANTINE OR HOME-STAY (AVAILABLE SUNDAY AND MONDAY 3/22-3/23)

First and foremost, I hope this email finds you healthy and safe—AND I PRAY YOU STAY THAT WAY.  

Like most of you now, I’m stuck at home for an indefinite period of time.The only real difference is that I’m pretty much used to it. As a novelist, I feel like I’ve been training for this for the past several years. With that said, I know this is entirely new to most of you, and it’s not easy. 

TO HELP EASE THE TRANSITION, LEE WEST AND I WOULD LIKE TO OFFER YOU 6 FREE BOOKS AND ONE BOOK FOR $1.99 (Publisher Deal) TO PASS YOUR FREE TIME. That’s pretty much every first in series book I have written. Some of you may not want to read THE JAKARTA PANDEMIC right now, and I don’t blame you, which is why I’ve teamed up with Lee to offer a variety. Also, many of you may have read all or most of my series. I wanted to offer you something outside of mine, so you don’t feel left out.

THE FOLLOWING E-BOOKS WILL BE FREE OR DEEPLY DISCOUNTED SUNDAY (3/22) and MONDAY (3/23) IN THE FOLLOWING AMAZON MARKETS (US, UK, CA, AU). Please Note: I can’t list all of the links for the countries, or spam filters will zap this message. Too many links triggers spam filters. You’ll be able to find these in your respective country stores. Links below are for the US store. 

THE JAKARTA PANDEMIC (Book One in the Alex Fletcher series) — Pandemic thriller focused on a single family trying to survive. I have received hundreds of messages in the past few weeks saying that this book helped them prepare for our current crisis. It’s uncannily similar to what’s going on now. 

ALPHA (Book One in the Black Flagged series) — Black ops/military/political thrillers. 

HOT ZONE (Book One in the Zulu Virus Chronicles) — More of a 28-Days later style virus series. Not a pandemic. 

SURVIVE AND ESCAPE (Book One in the Blue Lives Apocalypse series) — Unique post-apocalyptic story told from the view of law enforcement. EMP related.

MUTINY (Book One in the Reckoning series) — EMP related with a serious twist. You won’t see it coming. 

PRACTICAL PREPPING NO APOCALYPSE REQUIRED — Cowritten by me and Randall Powers, my preparedness guru. PPNAR is a light-hearted, instructional look at practical readiness concepts that nearly ANYONE can embrace–without seriously interrupting your life or draining your bank account.

FOR $1.99 THE RESCUE (Ryan Decker Book One) — For fans of Tom Clancy and Lee Child, a heart-pumping thriller of betrayal, revenge, and conspiracy by USA Today bestselling author Steven Konkoly.

STAY SAFE EVERYONE! AND THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR CONTINUED SUPPORT AND READERSHIP. I’M SENDING ALL OF MY GOOD VIBES AND WISHES YOUR WAY!

Steve

IT’S NO WORSE THAN THE FLU—BOOMER.

I was going to lead this post with something even snarkier like–> 

SCREW IT. JUST TELL ALL THE BOOMERS THIS IS NO WORSE THAN THE FLU AND THAT THEY SHOULD ALL GO ON CRUISES OR VISIT VENICE OR THAT LICKING EVERY CAR DOOR HANDLE IN THE AMC THEATER PARKING LOT BUILDS UP YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM—but why should I replicate the valiant efforts I’ve already witnessed to exterminate what’s left of the Greatest Generation and Boomers? I mean, the nerve of these old people! Why can’t they just die from COVID19 like they do from the seasonal flu—in the thousands! Do they think they’re special? 

I DO: Want to know why? Hint, hint…they’re our parents, grandparents and if you’re lucky…great-grandparents. 

YOU OWE IT THEM (and yourself, and your partner, and your kids) TO READ THE ACCOUNT BELOW FROM A DOCTOR ON THE FRONT LINES IN ITALY. I’ve heard similar reports from other doctors interviewed on NPR or other news agencies. 

CLICK HERE TO READ THE ARTICLE.

IF THE ARTICLE IS TOO LONG FOR YOU, HERE’S THE BOTTOM LINE:

1.) What’s happening in Italy is unlike anything these doctors have ever seen. THIS IS NOT JUST THE FLU. The flu doesn’t crush healthcare systems in a few weeks. The Lombardy region is industrialized and the system is decent by all standards. Not perfect, but let’s face it…neither is ours. 

2.) The elderly (70 and above) are AT MUCH HIGHER RISK of permanent organ damage or death from COVID19 than the seasonal flu. Preparing now for the scenario described below will save thousands of their lives.

3.) Young people have been hospitalized and put in the ICU, in much lower numbers, but on to #3.

4.) ICU beds and critical care equipment (ventilators) in Italy are at capacity. Your 8 year old who develops symptoms will not get a bed here once they are filled by the older people who will present severe symptoms far sooner. TRIAGE will go into effect. Your child is very, very likely to survive by being sent home with care instructions…the old person isn’t. Same for you if you’re under 60. Hospitals will prioritize those most at risk. That’s TRIAGE. One of the Italian doctors interviewed stated that only under the most unusual circumstances will SOMEONE UNDER 65-without complications-BE ADMITTED TO THE HOSPITAL.

5.) The US has one of the unhealthiest populations in the world. Italians have an average life expectancy FIVE years longer than Americans. That’s significant. Tons of reasons why, but there’s no point in getting into that. It’s fair to say that your average Italian boomer is healthier than a U.S. boomer. COVID19 will hit our older population just as hard or harder—IF WE ALL DON’T ACT RESPONSIBLY. 

DON’T PANIC. JUST TAKE SOME BASIC PRECAUTIONS. THE MOST IMPORTANT BEING——SOCIAL DISTANCING IN ITS MANY FORMS.

WHY YOU SHOULD STOCK UP ON TOILET PAPER (and everything else you need to keep your household running for 2-4 weeks of complete or partial isolation) RIGHT NOW.

WARNING: THIS IS NOT GOING TO BE A POPULAR POST WITH SOME.

THE SIMPLE ANSWER IN TWO PARTS:

1.) You and your loved ones will have a far better chance of remaining uninfected by COVID19.
2.) As it starts to become even more obvious that COVID19 is here to stay for a while, this may be your last chance to acquire these supplies (I don’t have data to support this one, but just take a look at the news).

Is this panic or fear based? No. It’s data based.

The first thing we need to do is DROP the mantra “BUT THIS ISN’T AS BAD AS THE SEASONAL FLU!”

It isn’t, YET…but scientific data and disease epidemiologists says it WILL BE…or at the very least IT SHOULD BE. Let’s hope math and the experts are wrong. Or as a good Marine buddy of mine once said, “you can wish in one hand and shit in the other…and see which one fills up first.” You get the not so pretty picture.

THE SLIGHTLY MORE COMPLICATED ANSWER IN MANY PARTS:

1.) COVID19 IS NOT GOING AWAY ANY TIME SOON. It’s Reproductive Number (R0 or “R-naught”) is somewhere between 1.4 and 4, which is consistent with historical coronaviruses. R0 is the number of patients each patient infects on their own. An R0 BELOW 1 means the disease dies out. An R0 AT 1 means it infects one person and the disease grows at a steady rate. An R0 OVER 1 means the disease spreads exponentially. Season flu has an R0 of 1.2…WITH A VACCINE ADMINISTERED AHEAD OF TIME AND DURING THE FLU SEASON! COVID19’s R0 is most likely double or triple the seasonal flu, and there is NO VACCINE.

1A.) BONUS! Infected people typically shed the virus (directly give it to you or give it to a door handle that gives it to you) for 7 DAYS before showing symptoms. Some can remain asymptomatic for 14 days…higher time periods are suspected. ALSO, a study released today in the LANCET indicated that the mean number of days a patient remains contagious in ICU is 20 days in survivors. 37 days was the longest observed. This is not like your typical cold or sinus thing, where we all think “once I’m showing symptoms, I’m not contagious.”

2.) COVID19 IS MORE LETHAL THAN THE SEASONAL FLU. The latest data points coming out of China (44K patient analysis) and Italy did not dampen the Case Fatality Rate (CFR) as many had hoped. Data confirmed a fairly steady 2.3% overall CFR. That’s 23X higher than seasonal flu at .1%. The older you are, or sicker you are, the worse the scenario. If you’re older than 60, or have comorbid diseases (heart disease, diabetes, etc), you are anywhere from 36-148X more likely to die from COVID19 than the seasonal flu.

2A.) BONUS! 37,000 Americans died last year from the flu…and WE HAD A FLU VACCINE (admittedly influenza vaccines are not perfect). We will not have a vaccine for COVID19 for at least a year, maybe longer.

2B.) CYNICAL TAKE. Hey…maybe only the same number of Americans will die from COVID19 as the flu. WHAT A MORBID THOUGHT…one I see repeated day in and day out. One I’ve now seen both the leader of the US and UK state publicly. SEE the part where I say BUY TOILET PAPER and other stuff NOW, because with our leaders spouting this attitude, I can assure you they do not have your best interest at heart. Listen to the experts please.

3.) COVID19 IS MORE WIDESPREAD THAN THE NUMBERS SUGGEST. This is a math based theory.I’m not going to get into the math, but the bottom line is that we haven’t been testing for COVID19 in any wide scale manner. As testing picks up, we’ll start to see a glimpse of the real numbers. WE HAVE TO FACE IT. COVID19 has been here since the first infected travelers got off the plane from Asia. We don’t know when that happened, but since China has been fighting the outbreak since December, it’s fair to say that the first infected passengers arrived in January. TWO MONTHS AGO. If you understand exponential growth, you’ll quickly understand why the currently reported numbers are likely off by a magnitude of ten or more.

SO…WHAT WAS I SAYING EARLIER? Oh yeah. It might be prudent to prepare for a short (2-4 week) period of time when you can stay away from the general public…or anyone outside of your circle of sanitized trust. Make sure the vulnerable in your family or in your neighborhood are similarly situated. Significant social distancing by the population (to include self-quarantine/isolation) will be the only way to drop that R0 below or close enough to 1 to slow this thing down to a manageable level. Please plan accordingly, in a non-panicked manner…before it is too late.
AND an updated reading list for those interested:

Exponential growth explanation: https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1236095180459003909.html
Deep dive into the data: https://emcrit.org/ibcc/COVID19/
The basics: https://www.sciencenews.org/article/coronavirus-cases-deaths-countries-symptoms-contagious
Proof I don’t just make shit up: https://www.thelancet.com/pb-assets/Lancet/pdfs/S014067362305663.pdf
Testing is going great in the US…not: https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2020/03/how-many-americans-have-been-tested-coronavirus/607597/
Frontline observations from China: https://www.reddit.com/r/China_Flu/comments/fbt49e/the_who_sent_25_international_experts_to_china/
R0-Contagiousness: https://www.popsci.com/story/health/how-diseases-spread/
The reason I based my first novel on a pandemic (title of article says it all): https://www.vox.com/2015/5/27/8660249/bill-gates-spanish-flu-pandemic
For those with more time on their hands than me (NOT MANY!): https://medium.com/insurge-intelligence/coronavirus-synchronous-failure-and-the-global-phase-shift-3f00d4552940

For those of you that made it this far…YES, I should be writing a book right now, but I’m trying to keep you and your peeps alive and well. And I’m happy to do it.

TOP COVID-19 ARTICLES

As you can imagine, I’ve digested hundreds of articles over the past few weeks related to the coronavirus threat. Several have stood out as well-balanced and informative. Giving these articles a few minutes of your time will put you on the right track to “Prepare without fear. Prepare with intelligence. Prepare with benevolence.” — Dr. Hal Cohen.

And, if you missed my blog post on COVID-19, you can read it here: COVID-19 PRIMER.

COVID-19 Primer

As of yesterday, I can no longer individually reply to requests for information or opinions regarding the COVID-19 virus. The number of emails and messages has become overwhelming. That said, I don’t want to leave readers and friends hanging, so I’ve put together the key information, predictions and recommendations that I’ve gathered or formed over the past few weeks.

BEFORE I GET STARTED—THIS IS NOT THE TIME TO PANIC, but it is definitely time to take a few key steps to avoid panic later.

Disclaimer: I’m not a scientific expert in pandemic epidemiology…or anything for that matter. I exhaustively researched pandemics and healthcare plans to address pandemics for my first novel, THE JAKARTA PANDEMIC (TJP), which was published in 2010. TJP was one of the first modern novels to address the average citizen’s experience during a lethal pandemic, from the arrival of the virus to a sensationalized breakdown of society. The virus I “brought to life” was far worse than anything we’ve seen in recorded history. That’s how you sell fiction. I don’t think we’ll ever see anything even remotely as deadly and destructive as the virus I created for that novel. Why tell you this? Because we’re not dealing with this kind of scenario with COVID-19—BUT WE’RE STILL FACING A UNIQUELY LETHAL CRISIS. Let me explain.

WHAT ARE WE ACTUALLY DEALING WITH?

CONTAGIOUSNESS:

COVID-19 is very likely twice as contagious as the seasonal flu, spread by DROPLET CONTACT (cough, sneeze or nose/mouth wipe that ends up on a surface and is then transmitted when someone else touches the surface…or if someone sneezes/coughs right into your face) and quite possibly some AIRBORNE CONTACT (aerosolized droplets from coughs and sneezes float around for a while and land in your mouth, eyes or other mucus membranes). Airborne contact has not been scientifically demonstrated, but the fact that it spreads faster than seasonal flu has experts suspected an airborne component.

MORBIDITY AND MORTALITY:

Chinese epidemiological reports based on current infection data puts the case fatality rate (CFR) at around 2%. This may change, but experts think it will hover right around that number. Seasonal flu has a CFR around .1%…so COVID-19 is 10-20X more lethal if contracted. On top of that, 20% of those infected require critical care (ICU level) to survive. This is important to remember.

EPIDEMIOLOGY AND CASE FATALITY BREAKDOWN:

Noted Harvard epidemiologist and many other experts expect 40-70% of world population to be exposed to COVID-19 within a year.

  • UNDER 50 Years old—.2 to .4 CFR (2-4X greater than seasonal flu. Not so bad?)
  • 50-59 — 1.3% (10X)
  • 60-69 — 3.6% (You do the math)
  • 70-79 — 8%
  • 80 and above — 15%
  • Cardiovascular disease, diabetes, pulmonary disease? 6-10%

PREDICTIONS:

This is rough guess stuff based on data presented above and expert opinion (not mine).

  • This will not be an apocalyptic scenario like any of my books. We’re looking at a slower burn scenario with limited, but significant impacts on society and daily life.
  • The food supply/power grid/water supply systems are unlikely to fail. I just don’t see that happening. What I do see happening is a brief, intense run on the stores (a few weeks), which will empty the shelves temporarily. Food will return, but daily essentials like toilet paper (think of what you resupply every few weeks), OTC medicines, prescription medicines will constantly be in demand. Picture a grocery store and how much shelf space is dedicated to different classes of items.
  • You will need to prepare for a 1-2 month period of general, but not complete “shut down.” Businesses closed. Restaurants shut. Day care and schools closed. Work places closed? THIS WILL BE THE MOST FRIGHTENING TIME—FOR GOOD REASON. You will want to avoid or severely limit public exposure. YOU NEED TO PREPARE FOR THIS! Can you remain mostly at home for a month or two, without resupplying? If you have to go out, can you keep yourself safe from infection and panic induced crime?
  • The closure of schools, daycares and work WILL SERIOUSLY STRAIN financially insecure families, if not ruin them financially. YOU MUST PLAN FOR THIS. Talk with employers ahead of time. Whatever it takes. This won’t last forever, but too many people can’t afford to take a single unpaid day off from work TODAY! I can’t understate the importance of this aspect.
  • Don’t count on the healthcare system to help you. The U.S. has 1 million hospital beds…only a fraction of those are capable of ICU level care. If 20% of half of our population requires critical care—that’s around 30 MILLION very sick people without a bed when the pandemic music stops!

WHAT CAN YOU DO TODAY?

  • Do whatever is within your means to prepare for a 1-2 month period of minimal public contact. Food. Medicine. Home essentials. FOCUS ON STUFF YOU CAN YOU USE EVEN IF COVID-19 DOESN’T MATERIALIZE. This is the key to readiness. Everything I buy will be used no matter what within a matter of a few years.
  • Prepare for your kids to be home. Even if the schools don’t close, do you really want them at school? The reported fatality rate is VERY LOW for kids, but they can still bring the virus home to YOU!
  • Start talking to your employer today about COVID-19 plans. Better to get the conversation rolling now, then to pull an absence that cost you your job or a few weeks of pay.
  • Stockpile FLU mitigating medications. CLICK LINK TO SEE LIST. Most of us will come down with nasty flu symptoms that are not life threatening, but can be very uncomfortable…and possibly get worse if left untreated.
  • Stockpile disinfectant supplies like bleach based sprays/solutions, disinfectant wipes for door handles/cars/shopping carts, hand sanitizer, and masks (any kind…to prevent wiping mouth with contaminated hand in public).
  • Stockpile IMMUNE SYSTEM boosting supplies like Multivitamins, extra Vitamin C, Elderberry in any form, Oregano Oil…lots of stuff out there that can help with this. Stay rested. Eat Healthy.

SUMMARY:

Let’s hope this doesn’t get nearly as bad as the experts suspect—BUT LET’S TAKE SOME STEPS NOW TO EASE EVERYONE’S FEARS AND BURDENS IF COVID-19 CONTINUES TO SPREAD.

WHAT I READ IN 2019 and the first month of 2020

This topic often comes up in conversation, and I often lead with “I don’t read nearly as much as I did before I started writing.” While that may be true, after doing a little back-tracking into 2019, I came up with a fairly healthy list of books that I somehow found the time to read.

I’d like to share that list with you, to include a few words about the titles or series. I’ll also link these titles to Amazon if you want to dig deeper. No affiliate income is derived from these links. I probably missed a few books…as I created the list, I thought of more.

LITERARY FICTION:

  • We Were the Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter – Heart wrenching, based on the true story about one Polish-Jewish family’s epic struggle to survive the World War II. Compelling from star to finish.
  • YES…I need to expand this section in 2020!

HORROR:

  • Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay – Modern day, sublime version of The Exorcist…and so much more. The end will blow you away.
  • Disappearance at Devil’s Rock by Paul Trembly – Made me scared to get up in the middle of the night…again.
  • The Outsider by Stephen King – King at his best. Read the book and then watch the HBO series. They compliment each other perfectly.
  • The Institute by Stephen King – Loved this one. Had an epic feel. The end will leave you thinking hard for days to come.
  • We Sang In The Dark by Joe Hart – (Not yet released) This one left me afraid of the dark for a while. Joe has a way of doing that with his novels.

THRILLER (Any subgenre):

  • Recursion by Blake Crouch – Mind-blowing. Just get it right now and take this incredible journey.
  • Don’t Make a Sound by T.R. Ragan – (Not yet released) Takes the revenge thriller to the next level in a gritty and chillingly realistic hunt for a killer.
  • Origami Man by Matthew FitzSimmons – (Not yet released) Hard to beat the first four books in the Gibson Vaughn series, but FitzSimmons does it handily. Highly recommend the series!
  • A Gambler’s Jury by Victor Methos – Underdog, scrappy lawyer caught up in vicious conspiracy. Edgar nomination for Best Novel.
  • The Killer’s Wife by Victor Methos – Serial killers and a haunted prosecutor. Twists and turns galore.
  • Pray for the Girl by Joseph Souza – Edgy, tense…will keep you guessing until the end.
  • The Chain by Adrian McKinty – One of the most inventive premises I’ve read in a long time. Unputdownable.
  • Green Sun by Kent Anderson – A hypnotic cop thriller set in early 1980’s Oakland, California. Couldn’t put it down.
  • The Eighth Sister (Charles Jenkins Book 1) by Robert Dugoni – Flawlessly executed espionage novel and white-knuckle journey through the byzantine world of modern intelligence.
  • The Last Agent by Robert Dugoni – (Not yet released) Book 2 in Charles Jenkins series. Knocks it out of the park with a full throttle cat and mouse spy story.
  • The Killer Collective by Barry Eisler – A mashup of Eisler’s most iconic characters in full-tilt covert operations thriller.
  • Dark Tomorrow (Lisa Tanchik Book 2) by Reece Hirsch – (Not yet released) Cyber-espionage and warfare amidst a high stakes federal manhunt for a murderous sleeper agent.
  • The Spider Heist by Jason Kasper – Not your ordinary bank heist book. Not by a long shot. High octane action and twisty plot.
  • The David Rivers Thrillers (Books 1-5) by Jason Kasper – Gritty, brutal, unapologetic action by a former Green Beret. Burned through these books one after another.
  • Murder Board (Boston Crime Thriller Book 1) by Brian Shea – Brian Shea is the real deal. A veteran detective turned thriller author…It truly doesn’t get any better.
  • The Little Drummer Girl by John le Carre – Classic le Carre. Meticulous. Sets the standard.

POST-APOCALYPTIC/DYSTOPIAN/SCI-FI:

  • Bar at the End of the World by Tom Abrahams – Tom takes a killer premise and builds a dystopian world like you’ve never seen before.
  • Winter World (The Long Winter Trilogy Book 1) by A.G. Riddle – Classic A.G. Riddle. End of the world story that takes reader across space and time.
  • Solar War by A.G. Riddle – Book 2 in the Long Winter Trilogy. Riddle does what he does best…pushes the story to unimaginable places.
  • Our War by Craig DiLouie – A second civil war burns out of control across America. Brilliant rendering of a worst case scenario that feels all too real.
  • Sons of War by Nicholas Sansbury Smith – (Not yet released) As always, Smith reboots the post-apocalyptic genre with a unique story of a societal collapse.
  • The Path Between Worlds by Paul Antony Jones – Epic, saga like potential set in a world beyond imagination, but eerily familiar.
  • Forward Collection (short stories by Andy Weir, Blake Crouch, NK Jemisin, Paul Tremblay, Veronica Roth and Amor Towles) – Take your pick…you can’t go wrong with this powerhouse group of authors.
  • The Second Sleep by Robert Harris – Eerie from start to finish. A slow burn, dystopian masterpiece.

NON-FICTION:

  • Red Notice by Bill Browder – A sweeping indictment of Russian corruption and malice. Fast paced, expertly crafted. A must read.
  • Bad Blood by John Carreyrou – Investigative masterpiece chronicling the rise and fall of Theranous, a nebulous and sinister Silicon Valley startup.
  • The Road to Unfreedom by Timothy Snyder – Hard hitting book. “A stunning new chronicle of the rise of authoritarianism from Russia to Europe and America.
  • The Fifth Risk by Michael Lewis – “Masterfully and vividly unspools the consequences if the people given control over our government have no idea how it works.

THE RAID (Ryan Decker 2) is now available

Book 2 in the Ryan Decker series is now available internationally at Amazon (see links below book cover) in ebook, paper and audiobook formats.

A Border Patrol murder exposes a high-level conspiracy in USA Today bestselling author Steven Konkoly’s explosive thriller.

After exposing and dismantling a deep-state conspiracy that nearly destroyed his life, Ryan Decker finds his covert skills have put him on the radar of influential Senator Steele. Now Steele needs his help. Two patrol agents were killed in a bizarre explosion near the US-Mexico border—and the evidence doesn’t line up with the official story.

Enlisted by Steele to run an undercover, off-the-books investigation, Decker and his partner, Harlow, head to the border town of Tecate. But when they’re caught in an ambush, Decker realizes they’ve stumbled onto something far more dangerous than any of them understood.

The cover-up is rooted deep in the Department of Defense itself. Fearful for their own lives and unable to trust anyone outside their small circle of skilled associates, Decker and Harlow set in motion a risky plan to stop a criminal conspiracy.

US AND INTERNATIONAL LINKS BELOW! Available at AMAZON in ebook, hard copy, hard cover and audiobook form.

CLICK HERE FOR THE U.S. STORE

CLICK HERE FOR THE UK STORE

CLICK HERE FOR AUSTRALIA

CLICK HERE FOR CANADA

THE RESCUE (Ryan Decker Book One) — The #1 Thriller on Amazon during March 2019!

WOW! It has been over a year since I last posted here. Crazy that more than a year has passed since the last Steven Konkoly book. I promise I won’t make you wait that long again. That said, I think you’ll find the long wait to have been well worth it.

THE RESCUE has arrived, featuring Ryan Decker, Harlow Mackenzie and a cast of memorable characters that early readers have thoroughly enjoyed. Don’t take my word for it! Over 600 reviews with a 4.6 out of 5 average speak for THE RESCUE.

US AND INTERNATIONAL LINKS BELOW! Available at AMAZON in ebook, hard copy, hard cover and audiobook form.

CLICK HERE FOR THE U.S. STORE

CLICK HERE FOR THE UK STORE

CLICK HERE FOR AUSTRALIA

CLICK HERE FOR CANADA


Sucked into a FIRE STORM

That’s what will happen when you start reading book 3 in The Zulu Virus Chronicles!

SO WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? Fire extinguisher is probably the right answer.

FIRE STORM: Book 3 in The Zulu Virus Chronicles is now available in ebook and hard copy format. Audiobook will be available in mid-March.

CLICK HERE TO ORDER THE KINDLE BOOK

CLICK HERE OT ORDER A PAPER COPY

SOMETHING MERCILESS WATCHES OVER THE OUTBREAK–GUIDING ITS COURSE.

Having narrowly survived the KILL BOX, HOT ZONE’s hardened survivors and their KILL BOX allies separate to pursue different objectives–outside of the Indianapolis quarantine zone.

For David Olson, that means bringing his son south, to the safe haven of his parents’ home–far away from the infected cities. Eric Larsen takes him up on the offer to rest and heal at the house, before departing on the long journey to find his family in Colorado.

For Rich and his secretive black ops team, that means transporting Dr. Chang and Dr. Hale to a secure facility out east, where they will join the nation’s few surviving bioweapons researchers–with the hopes of pinpointing the source of the virus and possibly developing a vaccine.

Neither group will get very far, before the true face of the evil controlling the Zulu Virus arrives–tempting them with irresistible opportunities.

DANGEROUS OPPORTUNITIES, WITH THE POTENTIAL TO SWEEP THEM RIGHT INTO A LETHAL FIRESTORM

Your KILL BOX has arrived

Not something you normally hear! 

FOURTEEN NOVELS—8,000 pages—6,300 Amazon reviews later, I bring you….

A FIFTEENTH NOVEL. 

KILL BOX: Book 2 in The Zulu Virus Chronicles is now available in ebook and hard copy format. Audiobook is on the way (early January).

CLICK HERE TO ORDER THE EBOOK

CLICK HERE TO ORDER A PAPER COPY

A LETHAL BIOWEAPON HAS BEEN RELEASED ACROSS AMERICA.

With their daring escape plan thwarted at the last possible moment, HOT ZONE’s motley band of survivors faces a worst-case scenario. Forced to take refuge near the epicenter of the bioweapons outbreak, deep inside in a city gone mad, THEIR TIME IS RUNNING OUT.

Unable to slow or adequately contain the infected population, the government has triggered KILL BOX, a desperate and merciless contingency protocol.

HOT ZONE’s survivors have less than twenty-four hours to escape the KILL BOX.

The Zulu Virus Chronicles places you at ground zero during a chillingly realistic, insidious “event.” This is a story about regular people from different walks of life coming together to survive an unthinkable disaster.

Welcome to the KILL BOX!

 

Author Steven Konkoly and the Wonderful World of Audiobooks

I know. The blog post title sounds like some kind of movie nobody should watch, or an audiobook nobody should listen to! I figured the worse the title, the more curious you’d be. Morbidly curious.

HOT ZONE just hit the audiobook shelves at Audible and iTunes, so instead of a post with a single title, I thought I’d create a post listing all of my audiobook titles. A one stop reference for those of you with long commutes, long walks to take, long breaks at work OR those of you who simply don’t like to “READ.” I know who you are!

CLICK ON THE LINKS BELOW FOR EACH STORE

I’ll start with HOT ZONE and break it down by series after that. Happy Listening!

HOT ZONE at  AUDIBLE | iTUNES



THE PERSEID COLLAPSE SERIES

 

THE PERSEID COLLAPSE (BOOK 1) at  AUDIBLE | iTUNES

EVENT HORIZON (BOOK 2) at  AUDIBLE | iTUNES

POINT OF CRISIS (BOOK 3) at  AUDIBLE | iTUNES

DISPATCHES (BOOK 4) at  AUDIBLE | iTUNES

THE JAKARTA PANDEMIC at  AUDIBLE | iTUNES (sort of a prequel)



THE BLACK FLAGGED SERIES

 

ALPHA (Book 1) at  AUDIBLE | iTUNES

REDUX (Book 2) at  AUDIBLE | iTUNES

APEX (Book 3) at  AUDIBLE | iTUNES

VEKTOR (Book 4) at  AUDIBLE | iTUNES

OMEGA (Book 5) at  AUDIBLE | iTUNES



THE FRACTURED STATE SERIES

 

FRACTURED STATE (Book 1) at  AUDIBLE | iTUNES

ROGUE STATE (Book 2) at  AUDIBLE | iTUNES

 

Welcome to the HOT ZONE

Not words you’d typically want to hear under any other circumstances.

HOT ZONE, the first book in THE ZULU VIRUS CHRONICLES, is now available in Kindle or hard copy on Amazon. The audiobook version will follow in August. HOT ZONE is also enrolled in the Kindle Unlimited program.

CLICK HERE TO GRAB THE KINDLE VERSION

CLICK HERE TO GRAB A PAPER COPY

While you wait for you book to arrive or download, check out my recent chat with LEE WEST, author of the Blue Lives Apocalypse series. Lee was one of first to read HOT ZONE, providing some spot on developmental advice. You can also CLICK HERE to check out THE ZULU CHRONICLES VIRUS PRIMER for more information about the series.

QUESTION AND ANSWER WITH STEVEN KONKOLY:

Lee: Having just finished HOT ZONE, I’ll start out by saying “I see what you did there.”

Steve: Is that a good or bad thing?

Lee: It’s a very good thing. For those of you wondering, there’s a subtle tie-in to one of your previous series, I won’t give it away, but let’s just say that it’s brilliant, hiding just below the surface. Obviously, you did this on purpose. Can you expand on that?

Steve: Guilty as charged. When I set out to write another series in the post-apocalyptic/dystopian/disaster genre, I wanted to take it in a different direction than most of the books recently written in the genre. I didn’t have to look very far. I had been sitting on a devastating scenario since 2012, when I wrote REDUX: A Black Flagged thriller. I had already created the perfect bioweapon, and put it in the hands of some very nefarious people. They just never got to use it thanks to some skilled and enterprising American operatives. The ZULU VIRUS CHRONICLES imagines what might have happened if that virus had been released.

Lee: So this isn’t a Black Flagged book.

Steve: Right. Fans of those books will find a few Easter Eggs, but this is an entirely new story that every thriller reader will enjoy. There’s no homework required to read the ZVC books.

Lee: That’s good to hear. Nobody likes homework. You obviously enjoy unleashing viruses on the world—that sounded kind of odd, didn’t it?

Steve: It did, but let’s go with it.

Lee: I’ll rephrase it. This isn’t the first time you’ve fictionally unleashed a virus on an unsuspecting world. Your first novel, The Jakarta Pandemic, imagined what it might take for an everyday family to survive a lethal pandemic and the ensuing societal collapse. In HOT ZONE, I strongly sensed a return to that type of storytelling.

Steve: I can’t tell you how happy I am to hear that. I really wanted to return to my roots with the ZULU VIRUS CHRONICLES, and tell the kind of story that launched my career. The Jakarta Pandemic was an intimate, if not claustrophobic, look at a pandemic’s impact on “normal people.” It focused less on the disease itself and more on the unpredictability of the human factor.

Lee: That’s what made it so fascinating in my opinion. It bucked all previous trends, focusing on regular citizens instead of the usual “CDC scientist running around the world saving the day.” Your characters barely left their neighborhood, and the neighborhood nearly killed them.

Steve: I take a similar approach in HOT ZONE, but the characters won’t have the luxury of lingering in one place for very long. Readers will get a taste of several different walks of life, as the disaster unfolds around this diverse group of characters. By the time the outbreak is in full swing, the characters will be doing what they do best in my books. Trying to survive. Moving frequently will be one of the keys to survival in this series.

Lee: You certainly don’t make it easy on your characters in this one. I can attest to that. I do have to call you out on one thing. There’s a hint of conspiracy in HOT ZONE, and a scientist who looks like he might be in a position to “save the day.” He definitely falls into the regular character category for now, but I see some potential. Am I wrong?

Steve: I can neither confirm nor deny the expansion of his role in future books, but I do like to take characters out of their comfort zones, so we’ll see. As for hints of conspiracy in HOT ZONE—don’t forget that we’re talking about a suspected, widespread bioweapons release on U.S. soil. A conspiracy lurks. I just haven’t decided how much of it will come into play within the series. Right now, it’s in the background, where it might reach out from time to time to hinder or even help the characters—the true focus of the story.

Lee: HOT ZONE is a frighteningly realistic look at a bioweapons attack from several angles on the ground. You obviously put a ton of research and thought into this scenario. So…why bioweapons?

Steve: Because bioweapons scare the $#@% out of me! Seriously. I wrote The Jakarta Pandemic partly because I’ve always been obsessed with viruses and biological warfare. I blame Stephen King’s The Stand, which I read as a teenager. People forget that Captain Trips, the virus in The Stand, originated in a fictional U.S. bioweapons lab. The beginning of that book was brilliant, and stuck with me for years. Still does. I’m rambling. After The Jakarta Pandemic, I didn’t stray far from viruses. No wonder. Right?

Lee: I see where you’re coming from, now.

Steve: I don’t like to be predictable. That’s a bad thing for an author.

Lee: You’re hardly predictable, especially with HOT ZONE. I guarantee readers won’t see where this book is headed. Last question. You claimed to have “created” the perfect bioweapon. What did you mean by that, fictionally of course.

Steve: I appreciate the disclaimer. I don’t need any more black vans on the block. Bioweapons in general are horrifying by nature, designed not only to kill and maim, but to inflict fear. A slow killer that requires the maximum amount of resources to handle. There’s no easy solution when dealing with an effective bioweapons attack. Unlike bullets or bombs, a properly designed bioweapon can cripple everyone, but leave them alive—needing extensive on site care and support. The impact of a bioweapon can’t be underestimated or overstated. It’s more like the “perfect weapon.” And in the grand scheme of terrorist weapons, they can be relatively inexpensive, flying under the radar in hidden laboratories around the world, or right here in the U.S.

Lee: Thanks for scaring the $#@! out of me, Steve.

Steve: Any time. Sleep tight.

THE ZULU VIRUS CHRONICLES PRIMER

WITH LESS THAN TWO MONTHS BEFORE THE PROJECTED RELEASE IN LATE JUNE…I figured it was time to give give you more than just a few teasers about HOT ZONE, book one in The Zulu Virus Chronicles.

Before I go crazy here, I want to highlight an opportunity to be an integral part of the The Zulu Virus Chronicles launch. I plan to provide advanced reader copies (ARCs) of HOT ZONE (and all future books in this series) to a sizable group of readers. I can’t include everyone in this, but for those of you that would be willing to read a free copy of the books ahead of the launch, and possibly share your opinion of the book with the pubic, I will consider you a candidate. I will also form a members only group on Facebook, where we can “hang out,” and I can pass news, launch material and get your opinion on aspects of the story. You don’t have to be on Facebook to be part of this group. If you’re interested in doing this, send me an email at freebooks@striblingmedia.com OR message me directly at my author page on Facebook by CLICKING HERE.  

NOW FOR THE FUN STUFF. What exactly can you expect from The Zulu Virus Chronicles?

Fans of my Black Flagged books will be somewhat familiar with the Zulu Virus, which has been featured in that series. The Zulu Virus Chronicles, however, takes place in a world mostly separate from the Black Flagged series. An alternate reality, so to speak. Black Flagged readers will catch a few “Easter eggs,” but The Zulu Virus Chronicles is a post-apocalyptic thriller saga, with a strong hint of political/government conspiracy. The setting is current day, in a Midwest city—Indianapolis. Much of the action takes place within a thirty minute drive of my house. I’ve driven the routes. Walked the streets. Shopped in the same stores. Visited the locations. I kind of feel bad inflicting this disaster on my new hometown, but it’s what I do. Scarborough, Maine was never the same after The Jakarta Pandemic. I just hope my new neighbors don’t think I’m crazy…too.

With that said, here’s the cover and blurb for HOT ZONE, BOOK ONE. After the blurb, you’ll find several sample chapters, which will introduce you to all of the main characters, and hopefully scare the $#@! out of you. Keep in mind. The weaponized virus you’ll meet in these chapters was not my idea. Minds far more disturbed thought of this first. I just hope they never successfully create and deploy it.

By the pricking of my thumbs,

Something wicked this way comes.

-William Shakespeare’s Macbeth-

SOMETHING INSIDIOUS HAS EMERGED—RIGHT IN THE HEARTLAND OF OUR NATION.

Dr. Lauren Hale, a hospital resident, is nearly killed by a raving mad emergency room patient, in a senseless, unprovoked attack.

Officer David Olson, veteran cop and former Marine, returns from a father-son camping trip to discover that his ex-wife has vanished under bizarre circumstances, and his police department is on the verge of collapse.

Jack and Emma Harper, a young upwardly mobile couple, find their cozy, city neighborhood rapidly descending into madness.

Dr. Eugene Chang, a research scientist for major pharmaceutical company, makes a shocking discovery that might explain the rapidly spreading wave of illness and violence gripping the city.

Eric Larsen, leader of a top-secret, rapid-response unit, circles high above Indianapolis, in an unmarked military transport. Mission still unknown, his team waits to parachute into the night.

WITHIN FORTY-EIGHT HOURS, ALL OF THEIR WORLDS WILL COLLIDE, driving them to join forces to survive the living nightmare that has been unleashed on their city—AND THE NATION.

WELCOME TO THE HOT ZONE!



SAMPLE CHAPTERS BELOW. Keep in mind, these have not been professionally edited. This is a raw, sneak peek into HOT ZONE.

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD SAMPLE CHAPTERS IN WORD FORMAT

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD SAMPLE CHAPTERS IN PDF FORMAT

 

MAY DEALS

THE DEALS AND NEW RELEASES KEEP ON COMING! I’ll keep this short, in bullet format, because my wife informed me that I have a tendency to ramble…and she’s the boss.

1.) Both novels in my Fractured State series (near future covert operations and conspiracy thriller) have been discounted by my publisher to $1.99. They aren’t free, but at $1.99 each, you’re looking at a 75% discount for the series. Click the images below to grab a copy from the U.S. Amazon store. Sorry, but the deal is not available outside of the U.S.

 

 

 

 

2.) Long time good friend and fellow author, Lee West, just released Resist and Evade, sequel to the smash hit, Survive and Escape. Lee’s Blue Lives Apocalypse Series focuses on the police response during a widespread EMP event; a unique twist in an overworked genre. At my recommendation, Lee keeps the series at a very affordable $2.99 each. Trust me. These books are a steal at the price. Check out this series if you’re looking for something new in the post-apocalyptic genre. CLICK ON THE IMAGES for the U.S. Amazon Store.

 

 

 

 

 

3.) Bestselling author and good friend, Nicholas Sansbury Smith, has taken the post-apocalyptic genre by storm with his TRACKERS series. Nick rocked the military post-apocalyptic thriller world with his EXTINCTION CYCLE series, bringing that same expertise to the TRACKERS books. THE HUNTED, book 2 in the series hits the shelves (ebook and paper) on May 4. THE STORM, book 3, comes in October 2017. This is a very reasonably priced, rock-solid series of books. The first book is $2.99, a complete steal for this USA Today Bestselling author. CLICK ON THE IMAGES for the U.S. Amazon Store. You can also follow Nick through his newsletter by CLICKING HERE.

 

 

 

 

 

4.) Later this week, I’m going to reveal the full premise of my upcoming series, THE ZULU VIRUS CHRONICLES, to include a few initial chapters. I’m beyond excited about this series—the first book will be available in June 2017.

THANK YOU FOR YOUR CONTINUED READERSHIP AND SUPPORT!

 

A CONSPIRACY COME FULL CIRCLE—THE BLACK FLAGGED LEGACY AND BEYOND

***Post-apocalyptic fans will find some VERY exciting news at the end of this post (new series), so keep reading. Warning: Spoilers ahead if you haven’t read the Black Flagged series***

I’ve led readers on a wild ride through the Black Flagged series, most of that ride centered around a particularly nasty, weaponized virus created by Dr. Anatoly Reznikov, a devilishly unhinged, former employee of the Russian Federation’s State Research Center of Virology and Biotechnology (VECTOR Institute).

REDUX (Book 2) followed Dr. Reznikov to Monchegorsk, Russia, where he infected a city of 60,000 inhabitants with the ZULU Virus—in a twisted revenge plot against the Russian government. Readers saw first hand what can happen to a populated area hit with the virus.

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APEX (Book 3) brought the ZULU Virus to the United States, where it was snatched from the hands of Al Qaeda, by a sophisticated domestic terrorist group that had orchestrated the creation and delivery of the virus from the very start.

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VEKTOR (Book 4) extinguished the bioweapons threat created by Dr. Reznikov, along with the illegal bioweapons research program at the Vector Institute—ALMOST.

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OMEGA (Book 5) brings Dr. Reznikov and his designer viruses back into the spotlight, amidst political turmoil in the United States and a blossoming conspiracy.

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VORTEX (Book 6)—TO BE RELEASED IN 2017 OR EARLY 2018—will marry Dr. Reznikov’s lethal creations to the ultimate conspiracy against the United States.

Excited yet! I am. The conspiracy introduced in REDUX (Book 2) will come full circle in VORTEX (Book 6), which I promise will be unlike anything you’ve read before. I know, that’s a tall order.



Why should post-apocalyptic readers and fans be excited by all of this?

Think The Jakarta Pandemic meets The Perseid Collapse, with a hint of conspiracy. Still not convinced?

CLICK HERE (PDF) to read a few of the hard core post-apocalyptic chapters from Black Flagged Redux to get a taste of what’s to come. This series will not be directly linked to the current Black Flagged books. It is a standalone, post-apocalyptic series based on a worst-case scenario release of the ZULU Virus in the United States.

virus-imageWHAT IS THE ZULU VIRUS? Check out the description of the virus taken directly from the Black Flagged novels. 

“A weaponized form of herpes simplex encephalitis, genetically modified to aggressively attack the brain’s temporal lobe. Left untreated, herpes simplex encephalitis has a high fatality rate. Near seventy percent. Treated aggressively, we can reduce this to thirty percent.”

“If the Zulu virus is released into a public water source, containment of the disease itself will not be our biggest challenge. Physical containment of the impacted community and the management of information will be your biggest priority. Weaponized encephalitis is the ultimate biological weapon.”

“Herpes simplex encephalitis does more than produce casualties…In those treated aggressively, less than three percent regain normal brain function. This can vary from very mild to severe impairment, depending upon several factors. Early treatment with high dose, intravenous acyclovir is the only modifiable factor scientists have identified.”

“If released in a municipal water supply, unknown to the population, it has the potential to affect nearly everyone. Take a small town of twenty thousand people. Even if we discovered the attack immediately after the virus circulated through the drinking water and treated everyone in the town with acyclovir, 95% of them will suffer neurological impairment at varying levels. 19,000 citizens. Neurological impairment will range from full homicidal rage and hyper-aggressive behavior to minor seizures. Brain damage in almost every case.”

Media Report regarding situation in Monchegorsk, Russian Federation taken from Black Flagged Apex—IMAGINE THE SAME REPORT COMING OUT OF INDIANAPOLIS.

“Confirmed news from the area is scarce, but persistent rumors of a deadly epidemic continue to surface. So far, nobody has been able to confirm the shocking and unbelievable footage sent anonymously to Reuters, suggesting that the Russian military is systematically destroying the city and killing its inhabitants. Russian officials have made no comment. One thing is for certain, the Russian government has taken extraordinary measures to seal off the area surrounding Monchegorsk. What is truly frightening is the fact that the world hasn’t seen an emergency government response on this scale from the Russian government since Chernobyl.”

MORE NEWS ABOUT THIS SERIES TO COME! Enjoy this cover reveal. 

OMEGA

1160 Steve Konkoly BLACK FLAGGED banner

FINALLY! Three years isn’t that long…right?

Don’t spend another second waiting. CLICK HERE TO ORDER

1543-steven-konkoly-omega_2THANK YOU for very patiently waiting for this book. I released Black Flagged VEKTOR (Book 4) in the summer of 2013, after deciding to take a short break from the series. I’d written four books back-to-back in two years and was starting to see the Black Flagged characters in my sleep. That short break turned into a long detour. Six books and several novellas, in two different series, to be exact. I really appreciate your loyalty and patience. I think you’ll find OMEGA worth the wait.

I had a lot of time to ponder the fifth book, which I thought would be the last novel in the core series. I’m very pleased to let you know that there will be a sixth book. Halfway through OMEGA, I realized that the finale I had in mind for this story was worth a full novel, so you can expect book six within the next year or so. I don’t want to give too much away, but the scope of the conspiracy unveiled in OMEGA is vast and devastating, unlike anything you may have read before.

On that note, I need to make a statement that I’ve never included in my books before OMEGA:

All characters and corporations or establishments appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Why the disclaimer? You’ll soon find out. Here’s a little background and a hint. In 2012, I created a fictitious political movement for Black Flagged APEX, called True America. Some similarities in core beliefs between the Tea Party movement and True America existed, but my intention, as stated in APEX, was to create a third, viable party vying for political power. I had plans for True America later in the series. Fast-forward to the spring of 2016, when I finished the first third of OMEGA, in which True America shocks the establishment and wins the 2008 (series time) presidential election. You can probably see where this is headed.

“Truth is stranger than fiction, but because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn’t” — Mark Twain.

Black Flagged OMEGA takes place in 2009, roughly two years after the events of Black Flagged VEKTOR.

CLICK HERE TO ORDER OMEGA TODAY

OMEGA is available in Kindlebook and Hardcopy. The audiobook version will be available in April 2017.

THREE YEARS LATER—HOW DO YOU REIGNITE A SERIES?

WITH A BIGGER CONSPIRACY, AND A COMPLETE SHAKE-UP

 

1543-steven-konkoly-omega_2OMEGA: A BLACK FLAGGED THRILLER (Book 5) redefines the characters, organizations and all of the relationships readers have come to known in the Black Flagged series. At the same time, OMEGA introduces a blistering conspiracy perpetrated at the highest levels of power.

VORTEX: A BLACK FLAGGED THRILLER (Book 6—COMING IN 2018) will unleash a disturbingly familiar, but entirely reimagined conspiracy to the American people.

CLICK HERE TO ORDER TODAY AND GET IT TONIGHT AT MIDNIGHT!

“A joint U.S.- Russian Special Forces raid against a hidden laboratory yields an alarming discovery. Anatoly Reznikov, the deranged bioweapons scientist stolen from U.S. custody a few years earlier, vanished minutes before the attack—taking his deadly work with him.

In the United States, Beltway power brokers grapple withTrue America’s surprise presidential win, finding the new administration to be anything but easy to work with. Karl Berg, demoted within the CIA due to the sudden shift in agency leadership, seeks to stay out of trouble, and retire quietly—a task he finds impossible when news of Reznikov’s near-capture unofficially reaches his desk.

Oblivious to the growing threats domestic and abroad, Daniel and Jessica Petrovich finalize their plan to abandon the “Black Flag” business for good, only to have it delayed by close-hitting news. A last minute trip to the United States drags them closer to an unfolding plot in the heart of Washington D.C.

A plot connected to everyone and everything the Petrovich’s have touched. A diabolical conspiracy none of them saw coming—AND ONLY ONE GROUP CAN STOP!”

 

 

 

Behind the Scenes of the Fractured State Series: Part Five—THE UNFOLDING BATTLE OVER WATER

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For those of you who’ve read FRACTURED STATE, you’ve probably guessed that the key conflict of the series revolves around WATER. While the public faces of the One Nation Coalition (anti-secessionists) and the California Liberation Movement (secessionists) fight over the fate of California and the disposition of its natural and man-made resources in Fractured State, a game changing plot has been set in motion that will be exposed in ROGUE STATE. A plot that could potentially undermine the billions of dollars invested by One Nation Coalition supporters to ensure the future of the profits in the Golden State. 

Nathan Fisher’s family, along with David Quinn find themselves at the very heart of a second conspiracy aimed at virtually guaranteeing California’s secession from the United States. I don’t want to give too much away, but I’ll leave you with a few clues.

1.) The image below shows a recent picture of Lake Mead, on the reservoir side of the Hoover Dam. The light colored rock represents the water level several years ago. The drop over the last decade has been drastic, unlike anything seen since the dam’s construction. The continuing drought has dropped the water level of Lake Mead to critical levels. In the 2035 world of Fractured State, the level would be at least four to five times lower,  at the point where water trickles downriver. At that level, no water can be pumped to Las Vegas, or diverted to Arizona. The electrical power plant run by the flowing water has been decommissioned. California receives little to no water from a source that had once provided most of Southern California’s water supply.

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2.) In 2035, the only peaceful way to restore the Colorado River flow would be to either convince multi-billionaire agriculture barons in the Great Plains to stop illegally diverting water, the only way for them to currently water their crops, OR, to convince the U.S. government to stop the illegal redirection of water from the Colorado River. Southwestern states have pursued both options for nearly two decades, but nothing has changed.

3.) Another option exists. Rivers flow naturally, unless they’re obstructed. You can probably guess the rest.

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If you’re interested in digging deeper into the politics,history and controversies surrounding the Colorado River Basin and other major fresh water sources, you can explore this links:

Overview of the Colorado River Basin

The disappearance of ground water throughout the world

Lake Powell slowly vanishing

Lake Mead sinks to record lows

$650 million pump station constructed to draw water from lowest levels of Lake Mead

California continues to draw from Lake Mead water bank despite record low levels

Spoiler article for Book 3. Read the entire article. 

Draining of the Ogallala Aquifer, the largest source of fresh water in the Great Plains.

Speculative article about what happens if the Colorado is denied to California

Dust Bowl days are here again.

Return of the Dust Bowl.

CLICK HERE TO GRAB A COPY OF ROGUE STATE 

Read Behind the Scenes PART 1, PART 2, PART 3 and PART 4

 

 

Behind the Scenes of the Fractured State Series: Part Four—WHAT’S NEW IN ROGUE STATE?

If you missed them, read Part One, Part Two and Part Three of Behind the Scenes of the Fractured State series!

Konkoly-RogueState-21878-CV-FL-V1With the launch of ROGUE STATE (Book 2 in the Fractured State Series) a few days away, I wanted to give readers and fans a look behind the curtains of the upcoming release. I thought I’d go with a TOP TEN list, because it’s early and I don’t have to come up with clever seaways between paragraphs. I have a 10 hour writing day ahead of me, so bear with this streamlined process. What this really means is that 1.) I haven’t had enough coffee yet. AND 2.) I’m getting a little lazier, truth be told.

HERE’S WHAT READERS CAN EXPECT ON JANUARY 10th!

predator-invisible-camo1.) Adaptive Camouflage: Sometimes called “active camouflage,” this fledgling technology today will be fully developed and available to the military and highest bidder in the 2035 world created for Rogue State. You can imagine the tactical benefits of rendering a vehicle or operative invisible to the naked eye or infrared detection. Check out a few links describing today’s efforts to harness this technology. The image to the right is from the movie Predator, I couldn’t resist…the ultimate in adaptive camouflage.

http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/animals/a11105/behold-the-octopus-inspired-adaptive-camouflage-17108661/

http://www.military.com/video/logistics-and-supplies/military-equipment/new-hi-tech-adaptiv-camo-system/2450498175001

http://www.popsci.com/technology/article/2011-01/active-camouflage-system-uses-e-ink-make-tanks-invisible-battlefield

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3072599/US-Army-developing-invisibility-suit-soldiers-say-begin-trials-just-18-months.html

rifle-camera2.) Rifle mounted, goggle integrated cameras: This isn’t exactly something new, but it isn’t routinely fielded today. I got the idea from playing Call of Duty and did some research. Like anything that might provide the modern day field operative or soldier an advantage, companies are putting consider time and money into development. Consider the benefit of being able to stick your rifle around a corner, see a target and shoot it.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2649051/The-app-lets-shoot-round-corners-Smart-rifle-uses-Google-glass-sight.html

https://defensesystems.com/articles/2016/10/31/wireless.aspx

face_recognition_fr_pic33.) Facial Recognition Software is widely, publicly and openly used by law enforcement and government agencies in 2035. A few states have declared it unconstitutional and prohibit the use of FRS technology. This isn’t new either, but as far as we know, proactive, wide scale use by the government hasn’t been implemented yet—OR HAS IT?  Here’s a quick paragraph from Rogue State describing the problem.

“Federal law enforcement agencies devoted significant funding to co-opting municipal and state FRS feeds, posing a significant detection risk. The Department of Homeland Security maintained a massive persons-of-interest FRS database, reportedly tracking the real-time movements of nearly a million people.”

http://www.forbes.com/sites/kalevleetaru/2016/10/20/from-cellphone-tracking-to-facial-recognition-minority-report-is-here/#25840ce6742a

4.) Most of  Texas, the American Southwest and the western half of the lower breadbasket states have become the New Dust Bowl, an area ravaged by drought severe weather patterns. Massive dust storms and firestorms have driven most of the population, in the worst hit areas (Arizona, New Mexico and west Texas) away permanently.

mexi35.) Taking advantage of the population resettlement, drug cartels from Mexico have seized control of most of Arizona and New Mexico. The U.S.-Mexico border no longer exists as a barrier in those areas, and fierce battles rage between well equipped cartel soldiers and National Guard units in key border cities along the Texas border. It’s fair to say that the State Department has issued a travel advisory to Americans thinking about vacationing in Mexico. Much of Rogue State takes place a few miles south of the border or in these lawless U.S. areas.

6.) Social Media Network monitoring provides real time crime and terrorist information for law enforcement agencies and our government. Once again, this isn’t something I imagined. It’s happening today—I just took it to a new level in Rogue State.

http://www.thenewamerican.com/tech/computers/item/7248-fbi-pursues-social-media-surveillance-to-gather-intelligence

https://it.ojp.gov/documents/roleoffusioncentersincounteringviolentextremism_compliant.pdf

i-qyrtdrhisa7.) Mercenaries used by corporations to achieve their “goals.” You already got a good taste of this in Fractured State. CERBERUS is essentially a high-end mercenary outfit retained by corporations to safeguard their financial interests—or create new ones. In Rogue State, you’ll meet a slightly less refined group of mercenaries, comprised of former Russian Special Forces (GRU) operators. They specialize in murder and mayhem, which will unfold spectacularly and gruesomely.

https://informnapalm.org/en/russian-private-military-companies-as-licensed-tool-of-terror/

8.) New Characters: Sounds kind of boring, but trust me, you’ll like some of the new faces that appear in Rogue State. David Quinn’s father, Stuart Quinn plays a key role, along with David’s brother in-law, Blake. The Russian mercenary commander, Chukov, won’t fail to make an impression. He’s a piece of work, and was a pleasure to write. Nissie Keane, a hacker employed by CERBERUS will play an important role in Rogue State and future books (spoiler). Finally, readers will get to know Jose (Nathan and company’s mysterious savior from book one) very well, along with some of his most trusted California Liberation Movement operatives.

9.) Fracking: And not the kind from the rebooted Battlestar Galactica show. I won’t say much about this, because it would be a big spoiler for the rest of the series. Let’s just say that CERBERUS isn’t looking for oil in the California desert.

shutterstock_12301414310.) A Bigger Plot Unfolds: I’ll talk more about this in the fifth Behind The Scenes article, but it will become clear to Nathan Fisher and David Quinn that the California Liberation Movement is far more than what it seems to the public. They’ll face a tough decision when confronted with the full scope of Jose’s plan.

Click here to order ROGUE STATE TODAY for $4.99 and grab FRACTURED STATE for $1.99. 

Check out Part One, Part Two, Part Three and Part Five of Behind the Scenes of the Fractured State series!

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2016 YEAR IN REVIEW (Part Two): Thriller reads

(Click here for Part One-Post Apocalyptic and Dystopian novels)

If you’re read this in the other post, go ahead and skip this paragraph. Instead of the traditional “end of the year review” about what I’ve accomplished as a writer, I wanted to highlight something different this year. What I accomplished as a reader. 2016 was without a doubt my best year as an author from every angle, but it was also one of the best years I can remember as a reader.

2016 introduced me to new writers and firmly solidified my commitment to some of my previous favorites. Below you’ll find my 2016 THRILLER reading list, in no particular order. This is not an all encompassing list by any means. I’ll probably add to the list as the days go forward. It’s also worth mentioning that you should strongly consider checking out the backlists and earlier in series books for ALL of these authors. 

Poisonfeather by Matthew Fitzsimmons

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Dark Matter by Blake Crouch 

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Embrace the Fire by Stephen England

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The Last Girl by Joe Hart

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First to Kill by Andrew Peterson

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The God’s Eye View by Barry Eisler

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Pushing Brilliance by Tim Tigner

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Furious by T.R. Ragan

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Need to Find You by Joseph Souza

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Written in Fire by Marcus Sakey

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Once Was Lost by Matt Iden

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Captive in Chief by Murray McDonald

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Jihadi Apprentice by David Bruns and J.R. Olson

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The Eagle Has Landed by Jack Higgins

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Rules for Revenge by Ian Graham

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Cold Blood by Alex Shaw

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2016 YEAR IN REVIEW (Part One): Post Apocalyptic and Dystopian reads

(Click here for Part Two-Thrillers if post-apocalyptic/dystopian isn’t your kind of story)

Instead of the traditional “end of the year review” about what I’ve accomplished as a writer, I wanted to highlight something different this year. What I accomplished as a reader. 2016 was without a doubt my best year as an author from every angle, but it was also one of the best years I can remember as a reader.

2016 brought some exciting new names to the POST APOCALYPTIC and DYSTOPIAN genres, in addition to plenty of releases from the “tried and true” PA authors of the past several years. Below you’ll find my 2016 reading list, in no particular order. Some of the books are first in a new series. Some are a 5th or 6th in a series. Each author is worth checking out in full! Many have written multiple series. I hope you get as much entertainment out of these as I did.

Survive and Escape by Lee West

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Trackers by Nicholas Sansbury Smith

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Surrender the Sun by A.R Shaw

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Spaceman by Tom Abrahams

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Push Back by R.E. McDermott

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Blood Honor by Russell Blake

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Unexpected World by Chris Pike

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Devil Dog by Boyd Craven

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Canine Plague by Burt Walker

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Cry Havoc by Angery American

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Locker Nine by Franklin Horton

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Hell Divers by Nicholas Sansbury Smith

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Trial by Murray McDonald

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Razor’s Edge by G. Michael Hopf

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Gavin’s Woman 

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99 CENT CHARITY BOXSETS for the holidays!

UPDATE 12/14/16: The THRILLER THIRTEEN boxset raised close to $4,000 for the International Justice Mission. A HUGE THANK YOU to the thousands of readers that supported this cause, and grabbed a great compilation of stories. On top of that, the boxset hit the USA Today Bestseller List! See below:

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SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE HERE! Each boxset on sale for 99 CENTS! The best part? One of my stories is included in each set! Already read my books? No worries. You’ll find novels and novellas by some of the top authors out there.

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UPDATE 12/11/16: THIS BOXSET IS NO LONGER AVAILABLE FOR THE LIMITED TIME OFFER OF 99 CENTS. 

THRILLER THIRTEEN  features novellas and short stories by bestselling authors in thriller, mystery and crime. All proceeds go to the International Justice Mission, an organization dedicated to fighting human slavery and trafficking around the globe. You’ll find ORIGINS: A Black Flagged Short Story in this boxset, which takes readers back to Daniel Petrovich’s early years as a Black Flagged operative. It’s a gritty, brutal look at Daniel’s undercover mission to infiltrate a Serbian paramilitary group during Slobodan Milosevic’s reign of terror in Yugoslavia.

 

KILLS, CHILLS AND THRILLS features a “first in a series novel” from seven bestselling authors that spawned fan-fiction Kindle Worlds. Proceeds will go to Read Aloud America, an organization dedicated to promoting family literacy in the United States. I have contributed The Perseid Collapse to the boxset; a book that has spawned 35 fan-fiction stories set in that post-apocalyptic world. The fan-fiction worlds created by seven authors featured in the boxset have inspired more than 200 stories set in those worlds.

AN EARLY HOLIDAY GIFT! Sort of…

The long awaited fifth book in the Black Flagged series is now available for PREORDER. Ebook version only for the preorder. Hardcopy and audiobook versions will be available closer to the FEBRUARY 20, 2017 release date.

BOOK FIVE has been renamed OMEGA (Reprisals and Vortex are gone), to symbolize the events and circumstances that will unfold in the story. Omega is the last letter of the Greek alphabet, and Alpha is the first. It is no coincidence that the series starts with Alpha and ends with Omega. Beginning and end. And that doesn’t mean the series ends with OMEGA. It means things as series readers know it will change significantly…you’ll see what I mean. GRAB A COPY OF OMEGA TODAY!

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OMEGA: A Black Flagged Thriller (Book 5)

“A joint U.S.- Russian Special Forces raid against a hidden laboratory yields an alarming discovery. Anatoly Reznikov, the deranged bioweapons scientist stolen from U.S. custody a few years earlier, vanished minutes before the attack—taking his deadly work with him.

In the United States, Beltway power brokers grapple with True America’s surprise presidential win, finding the new administration to be anything but easy to work with. Karl Berg, demoted within the CIA due to the sudden shift in agency leadership, seeks to stay out of trouble, and retire quietly—a task he finds impossible when news of Reznikov’s near-capture unofficially reaches his desk.

Oblivious to the growing threats domestic and abroad, Daniel and Jessica Petrovich finalize their plan to abandon the “Black Flag” business for good. An unforeseen, last minute personal trip to the United States drags them into an unfolding plot, based in the rotten heart of Washington D.C.

A plot connected to everyone and everything the Petrovich’s have touched. A diabolical conspiracy nobody saw coming—AND ONLY ONE GROUP CAN STOP.”

POST ELECTION DAY MADNESS SALE

Update: Due to a small mistake, the deal for The Perseid Collapse books will commence in the UK on Nov 11. I can’t offer the discount on The Jakarta Pandemic in the UK at this time.

Because a relaxing book about SOCIETAL COLLAPSE is just what the doctor ordered after this election. I don’t know about you, but I’m SO GLAD it’s over. 

ALL OF MY POST-APOCALYPTIC BOOKS ARE DEEPLY DISCOUNTED FOR A LIMITED TIME. 

—You can grab THE JAKARTA PANDEMIC  for FREE if you’re a member of Amazon Prime or Kindle Unlimited, if not, it’s half price at $2.99. CLICK HERE FOR THE JAKARTA PANDEMIC

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THE PERSEID COLLAPSE books are $1.99 or less—EACH. OR, you can grab the entire series for less than $7. CHECK OUT THE PERSEID COLLAPSE BOOKS

Book One

Book Two

Book Three

Book Four

 

IT’S FINALLY HERE!

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After more than a year since my last novel sized release…

I finally have something to prove that I haven’t been on a 14 month sabbatical from writing! 

FRACTURED STATE is now available for purchase as an ebook, audiobook or hardcopy.

FOLLOW THIS LINK TO GRAB A COPY AT AMAZON.COM (U.S)

FOLLOW THIS UNIVERSAL LINK if you’re outside the U.S.

I know you’re going to love Fractured State, and the rest of the books to come. The series promises to be incredible. I just delivered the second book to my publisher, Thomas and Mercer, and they’re busy tearing it apart—in a good way.

Check out Thomas and Mercer’s series description for a taste of the entire series. This paragraph absolutely captures the essence of what I set out to accomplish…almost like mind reading!

“Steven Konkoly’s Fractured State series charts a nightmarish near-future vision of America, ravaged by environmental devastation and teetering on the brink of political collapse. When average family man Nathan Fisher unwittingly learns of a terrifying conspiracy at the highest levels of power, he and his family must run for their lives, pursued by ruthless killers and aided by a resourceful Marine with a mysterious agenda of his own. Unrelenting suspense; rich, relatable characters; and a vividly imagined, all-too-believable future world of high technology and low-down violence: welcome to Fractured State.”

Thank you for checking out the series. Don’t forget to check out some of my earlier “behind the scenes” of Fractured State posts!

BEHIND THE SCENES of Fractured State

The Perseid Collapse World

HUNDREDS OF YEARS IN THE FUTURE!

When author Richard Stiller reached out to me earlier in the year to discuss his possible participation in the Perseid Collapse Kindle World, I was instantly intrigued. Unlike the rest of the Kindle Worlds canon, Richard proposed setting the books hundreds of years in the future, long after the collapse. The link between the Perseid Collapse story set today and Stiller’s imagined future was Aaron Fletcher, a direct descendent of Alex Fletcher from my original series. The more I learned about Richard Stiller’s imagined world, the more excited I became about the Perseid Oracle series. What I read blew me away. Richard has created an epic story, extending the Fletcher legacy far into a dystopian future. I encourage you to take a look at what he has created.

518L7-84A5L._SX312_BO1,204,203,200_Perseid Oracle: Book of Aaron

A hundred years have passed since the Perseid Collapse. Aaron, a direct descendent of Alex Fletcher embarks on a journey across a post apocalyptic North American Continent in a last ditch attempt to stop the pandemic that is killing off mankind. The answer lies with a solitary oracle named Sybil who is located in the mountains of the continental divide. First Aaron must navigate a world where civilization has slipped backwards. Where the strongest rule and the enemies of man are in ascendance.

GRAB BOOK of AARON HERE!

51nGL8SnPDL._SX312_BO1,204,203,200_Perseid Oracle: Book of Sybil

This is the second book in the Perseid Oracle series. It is a century since the Perseid Collapse. Aaron Fletcher travels westward to find Sybil, the oracle that holds the answer to the virus that is slowly, but surely killing off mankind. The world that we know has been ripped apart. Mankind and civilization have slipped backwards. Aaron must navigate what was once known as the USA, but is now a series of ruined cities, fortified towns and open country where the strongest rule. In the west a new nation has arisen. In a remote mountain cavern Sybil awaits the coming of those who would seek her help while destroying those who would annihilate her.

GET BOOK 2 in The Perseid Oracle series!

Book 3 is due in late 2016: Perseid Oracle: Book of Daniel

Aaron Walker reaches The Red Mountain and encounters The Oracle. He sees the bleak future of mankind and realizes that he holds the fate of the human race in his hands.

Behind the Scenes of the Fractured State Series: Part Three—THE FULL SERIES MAP

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THE SOUTHWEST UNITED STATES HAS RADICALLY CHANGED BY 2035

THE FRACTURED STATE series sweeps you through this vast, twisted landscape with reluctant hero, Nathan Fisher, as he fights against all odds to keep his family alive.

Click on the map to enlarge and explore.

ORDER Fractured State today!

Also, check out Behind the Scenes PART ONE , PART TWO, PART FOUR and PART FIVE.

Fractured State Map3

Behind the Scenes of THE FRACTURED STATE SERIES: PART 2

Fractured State coverBuilding the greater world surrounding THE FRACTURED STATE SERIES was a serious blast, but inventing the details of a near-future world was the proverbial “icing on the cake.” This is the kind of stuff I live for as a writer, and Fractured State was a fertile playground for these details. That said, it wasn’t easy.

Set 20 years in the future, I found myself walking a thin line between advancing technology far enough to create a “wow factor” and keeping it familiar enough to the reader. The last thing I wanted to do was create a new vocabulary for readers.

Here’s a fantastic example of that struggle, with a slightly disappointing ending. What do you call a cell phone/smart phone 20 years from now? The answer isn’t simple, or is it? I got a crazy idea during the developmental edit, based on a suggestion from my developmental editor (I blame David!), to replace every instance of smartphone with the term LINK. We’d discussed the technology upgrades evident in the manuscript and agreed that the device served as more of a communications link, but we couldn’t call it a COMLINK. That term had been coined by the Star Wars franchise years ago, and it didn’t sound right, anyway.

But what about LINK? That’s simple, catchy…hey, 20 years from now, people might be looking back at Fractured State and saying, Steven Konkoly used the term first, now everyone calls their phone a LINK. Communications companies will be paying me billions to license the term…it sounded fantastic, until it didn’t. Actually, it was my editor at Thomas and Mercer that essentially said something to the effect of, “I don’t know. It’s cool and all, but forcing readers to use the word LINK instead of phone throughout the story might get a little annoying.” Too kitschy, so I dropped LINK and went back to phone or satphone. Lesson learned. The device had more bells and whistles, but it essentially did the same thing it does today…let’s you talk to people. Why complicate matters?

But one creative disappointment can’t ruin the creative process for me. NOT EVEN CLOSE. That was ONE device out of hundreds used in the novel, and I had a ton of fun with the rest. Too much fun, probably.

mq-9-reaper_001-ts600If you’ve read any of my books, you probably can guess that I like weapons. From knives to attack helicopters, I don’t shy away from the details, and I like my characters to make the best use of the weaponry available to them. Fractured State gave me the unique opportunity to take systems currently in development, and imagine them in widespread use 20 years from now. Every firearm is more compact and versatile, ammunition is far more lethal, heavy duty weapons systems normally employed by armies are now available to mercenary groups, and the effectiveness of personal protective equipment has increased to counter this new lethality. Take a look at the following links, along with a brief explanation of how I chose to employ that technology in Fractured State.

Guided sniper munitions – Used by assassins in a coordinated attack against a politician at his reinforced mansion. The effect is rather gruesome, as you can imagine.

ge5mcdjxhbxj9sfxla38Color night vision technology – I call it synthetic daylight…heard it here first! This actually presented a bit of a challenge, since describing what the characters see through these goggles is no different than what they’d see in the daylight. At times, my developmental editor couldn’t remember if it was night or day. To remedy this, I added some additional features to the goggle’s display, which measured light intensity and could tell the wearer how dark it was outside.

Liquid gel body armor – This has so much promise for the future in my opinion. Form fitting and reactive, liquid gel body armor can potentially stop any type of munition, evenly spreading the brunt force of the impact to reduce internal injuries commonly seen with solid plate armor.

Dragonskin armor – Recently rejected by the U.S. Army, I see a future for this type of armor. Lighter, shape conforming and effective against armor piercing ammunition…I could see this as standard issue.

Rifle launched missiles – I don’t actually use these in the books, but damn if this isn’t cool.

xm25Smart grenade launchers – I take this one step further, and apply the same range finding automation to an automatic grenade launcher system. The effects are spectacularly devastating…and messy of course.

Hand launched surveillance drones – Nothing new about the Raven, except the newer versions can fly longer and transmit more data. Putting two of these in the air, one of the teams in the book finds a “needle in a haystack.”

See through wall radar and imaging devices – Can you imagine looking at a 3-Dimensional schematic of a building and seeing a live image of everyone inside? It’s not really possible today, but in 2035…

Bullet resistant glass (nothing new, but this video is COOL) – I find some creative uses for glass like this in the series…in ways you might not expect.

Missile firing drones – Over U.S. airspace? You bet, especially when operated by Cerberus International…and to make matters worse, the drones are mostly undetectable.

Active or adaptive camouflage – Can you turn a vehicle invisible? With enough money and 20 years of research and development. Why not?

Converting seawater to energy – This method is energy intensive, but when co-located with a nuclear power plant?

Desalination plants – Reality today, and critical to survival in a drought parched future.

This is a very short list of some of the types of technology upgrades found in Fractured State, and this is just the tip of the iceberg. Everything is slightly reimagined in this series, from sinks that recycle water for rinsing to mandatory  GPS tracking systems installed on every vehicle to measure fuel efficiency and restrict movement. Life has changed…it’s up to the reader to decide if the change is for better or worse.

PREORDER FRACTURED STATE

READ Behind the Scenes Part One, Part Three, Part Four and Part Five

Behind the Scenes of THE FRACTURED STATE SERIES: PART ONE

Fractured State coverWith the release of FRACTURED STATE less than a month away, I thought I’d give readers and fans a look behind the scenes at the creation of the near future, dystopian world supporting the story. As most of you know, I spend a considerable amount of time envisioning and creating the worlds behind my fiction. The process is time consuming, and if left unchecked, can take on a life of its own. I know this from experience. When I started to create the world for my first novel, The Jakarta Pandemic, I reached a point, long into the early stages of development, where I asked myself: “When are you going to actually start writing the story?” I didn’t have an answer, which in itself was my answer. It was time to quit researching the world, describing characters on notepads, creating maps, developing timelines—AND TIME TO GET DOWN TO BUSINESS. I had spent months world building, when I could and should have been writing.

With that lesson SORT OF learned—a few times, I’ve developed a rough world-building process that gets me started and keeps me on the right track.

IMG_13421.) Creating a world to support a series requires me to create a ALTERNATE HISTORY, or in the case of Fractured State, a FUTURE set 20 years from today. Either way, I start out with a TIMELINE OF EVENTS. This is outside of the story plot. For the Fractured State series, I started in 2016 and envisioned the world, national, state and personal-level events that would land the reader on page one. As you can see, this sheet has endured coffee and beer stains, many on-the-fly changes and an accidental “throw away” since I created it in early 2015. It rarely leaves my side while I’m writing.

2.) For the kind of deep background and expansive geographical reach involved in writing a series like Fractured State, I find the use of MAPS to be invaluable. I create them throughout the entire process, starting with big picture world building maps down to individual scene orientation maps. Every complex, action oriented scene likely originated with a sketch.

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First map created

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Map of California’s present and future energy sites

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Motel scene in Rogue State (Book 2)…little spoiler.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3.) Whether based in the past, present or future, I also create lists and descriptions of the organizations involved in the story. Past and present is easy…a few clicks on Google and you have a nice organizational chart of the CIA. Future requires a little more work. In Fractured State, I envisioned San Diego County as an entity that effectively absorbed every municipality throughout the current county, providing town administration, resource management, leadership and police functions for the entire geography. San Diego County Police Department (SDCPD) officers patrol the streets of Chula Vista, CA, south of San Diego, just he same as the streets of Carlsbad, CA—40 miles away.

In Fractured State, Nathan Fisher, the story’s main character, works as a water reclamation engineer at the San Diego Water Reclamation Authority, an entity that does not exist today. Since water reclamation is a critical part of Californian’s lives in my story, I gave it an organization separate, but subordinate to the existing Water Authority. Of course, in the resource stressed world of Fractured State, both authorities serve under the San Diego County Resource Authority. Yeah, I have fun with this stuff. Sorry to put you to sleep!

4.) Throughout the creation of the TIMELINE, MAPS and boring ORGANIZATIONS, I’m constantly researching topics related to the big picture to generate new ideas, validate previously envisioned plot points or expand the story.

lake meadFor Fractured State, I spent a lot of time studying WATER sources in California, the rest of the southwest and the Great Plains. While the events in my story are purely fictional, the historic, ongoing drought in California and the U.S. Southwest is REAL. Frighteningly real. California’s current drought started me on the path to writing this series. The more I researched, the more I knew I had the background for an incredible story. What if the drought continued for another 20 years like many climatologists agree is possible? AND what if the effects of the drought were intensified by corrupt group of greedy industrialists and enforced by a ruthless mercenary army on their payroll? Secession? Mayhem? All of the above.

Check out some of the original bookmarked links that I used to get a feel for the drought issues facing California and the nation. It’s scary stuff. All of it. I just listed them as LINK. Click on any or all to give yourself a fright.

LINK, LINK, LINK, LINK, LINK, LINK, LINK, LINK, LINK, LINK, LINK.

ORDER FRACTURED STATE TODAY!

READ BEHIND THE SCENES PART 2, PART 3, PART 4 and PART 5

Introducing FRACTURED STATE

Fractured State coverI’m so excited to get this book into your hands, I barely know where to start. Seriously, I’ve been staring at the same few sentences for the past ten minutes. I’ll make this easy on both of us, and start with an emotionally charged statement.

Fans of my previous novels will absolutely love this book! I know that’s a bold claim, but I really believe it. Fractured State brings the best of the Black Flagged and Perseid Collapse books to life in a fast paced, stylish thriller series. At its very core, Fractured State is a story about an innocent family—inadvertently dragged into the middle of a lethal struggle to determine California’s fate.

I’m going to vastly over simplify the story here, but picture Alex Fletcher and his family ruthlessly pursued through a near future, dystopian southern California, by a Black Flagged-like group with unlimited resources and an unquenchable thirst for murder. Unlike Alex, the new main character, Nathan Fisher, doesn’t have the hard skills required to keep his family alive against professional killers. He’s crafty—the son of a retired Marine Sergeant Major—but he’s in way over his head in Fractured State. Nathan gets help from an unlikely source—a Marine officer thrust into the situation by chance. Together, they fight to stay one step ahead of the shadowy group’s relentless efforts to silence the Fishers. You’re going to love these characters just as much as the story.

PREORDER FRACTURED STATE NOW! (That’s just a suggestion)

For those of you thinking — “Wow, Steve couldn’t describe one of his books to save his own life!” Here is the official description for Fractured State.

“In 2035, the southwestern United States is ravaged by drought, reeling from an environmental catastrophe that has left the landscape a chaotic, depleted ruin. California, still viably inhabitable due to its oppressive social controls, marshals state-of-the-art surveillance technology and totalitarian policies to preserve its fragile hold on rapidly dwindling resources and an increasingly unsettled population.

After a prominent California congresswoman is assassinated for her support of the state’s secession from the United States, Nathan Fisher—accidental witness to a clandestine military-style operation—is drawn into an unraveling conspiracy that reaches the highest levels of power and threatens the lives of Fisher and his family.

Hunted by ruthless killers seeking to ensure his silence, suspected by the authorities, and aided only by a loyal Marine officer with a mysterious agenda, Fisher and his loved ones must somehow stay a step ahead of their relentless pursuers, navigating a ruined world in a desperate search for sanctuary.”

PREORDER TODAY!

Book Cover Evolution

If you follow me on Facebook, or occasionally check for my latest release on Amazon, you’ve probably noticed that my books look different from time to time. If you stalk my books (I don’t mind that at all!), you might wonder if I’m addicted to changing book covers.

Since publishing The Jakarta Pandemic over five years ago, I’ve changed the covers for every book published at least twice. The older the book, the more change they’ve seen. While it is absolutely true that I LOVE NEW BOOK COVERS, I can assure you a lot more thought goes into the changes than satisfying a potentially expensive addiction. Instead of a didactic explanation of the general  process, I’ll walk you through the thought process for the books that have seen the most change.
0440 Steven Konkoly ecover Black FlaggedThe Black Flagged books have undergone the most dramatic changes over the years. When I first published Black Flagged, I hadn’t decided if the characters and plot would continue in a series. Frankly, I had no idea if the books would sell! With that in mind, Jeroen ten Berge created a standalone cover, which remains my favorite to this day. There’s something about this cover that draws me back, over and over again.

Despite my love affair with the original cover, we decided to change it when I committed to a three book series. Jeroen suggested a uniquely branded look across the books, resulting in the covers that adorned the series for the longest stretch of time to date. The continuity of the covers, forming a flag, is a brilliant touch. Unfortunately, I hadn’t anticipated the forth book (Black Flagged Vektor), so we couldn’t fit it into this particular cover stretch.

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Instead, Jeroen created a new look for Book 4. It has the same feel, but draws VEKTOR out with an eerie green color. These covers represented the series nearly 2 years.

Black Flagged Vektor

 

 

 

 

 

The next set of changes resulted from a simple need to shake up the series. It was time. Repackaging the books breathed a new life into the series, as new readers discovered a series they may have passed up before. The books took on a new life with a more technothriller oriented look

1142 Steven Konkoly ebook Black Flagged_21142 Steven Konkoly ebook Black Flagged_REDUX_21144 Steven Konkoly ebook Black Flagged_APEX_51149 Steven Konkoly ebook Black Flagged_VEKTOR_2

 

 

 

 

 

Flash forward a year! I learned some interesting lessons participating in a few Amazon sponsored advertisement programs. Amazon does not like to mass advertise books with guns on the covers, so why cut myself out of that opportunity? We changed things up a bit. The new covers also coincided with a purposeful rebranding of the series to shift the title of the first book from Black Flagged to Black Flagged Alpha, and we added some iconic genre related images.

1277 Steven Konkoly ebook Black Flagged_ALPHA1395 Steven Konkoly ebook Black Flagged_REDUX_20151401 Steven Konkoly ebook Black Flagged_APEX_20151396 Steven Konkoly ebook Black Flagged_VEKTOR_2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS

WRITE MORE

2015 was kind of a slow writing year for me. I have a deadline to meet at the end of February, and more books to write after that. The more I write, the more you get to read. I plan to accomplish this by…

SURFING THE INTERNET LESS

Sorry, but this is a polite way of saying “spend less time on social media.” I’m not going away, but every word I type on Facebook is one word taken away from my work in progress. Added up (and it ADDS UP!), this forces me to work longer days to meet deadlines, and ultimately takes time away from…

SPENDING MORE TIME WITH FAMILY

There’s no reason for me to be writing during family time on weekends. A few hours in the morning by choice is still fine. I like to write every day, even if just for an  hour or two, and I can do that in the early morning hours when most of the house is asleep. But spending most of the weekend days writing to meet an easily achievable deadline is not healthy or fair to the most important parts of my life. Same goes for weekday evenings. Cutting out social media related event time is one way to help with this, the other is…

DEVELOP A BETTER SCHEDULE

The cross country move threw what I considered a tight schedule WAY off track. In military terms, it did not survive first contact with the enemy. No more of that. The first thing I’m going to do every morning is stretch out with the 5 Tibetans (Hugh Howey introduced me to these—check out the video), fix a coffee, and spend an hour walking and WRITING on THIS CONTRAPTION! I’ll be up early enough to do all of this and hang out with the kids before they head to school. Then it’s off to the gym or out for a run. I plan to spend to be at my other desk by 9AM. I’ll probably see the treadmill again before the end of the day whistle blows between 4-5PM. If I hit 3K words before 4-5PM, I’M DONE.

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EXERCISE MORE

My new routine will ensure that I exercise more. The concept of regular exercise took a vacation in 2015. My goal for the year is to be in as good or better shape than Alex Fletcher from my Perseid Collapse Series. That may sound kind of strange, but I have a reason for this goal. I write a lot of post-apocalyptic, prepper-related fiction where characters are constantly fighting for their lives. It’s over the top stuff for sure, but it really drives home an important point. What’s the point of readiness and prepping, even for a minor emergency, if you’re too out of shape to execute your plan?

Fat militia

I chose Alex Fletcher, because he wasn’t a physical super star. He could run 4-5 miles at a decent pace, carry a pack on an extended hike, swim several hundred yards against a mild current and sprint around shooting at the bad guys for a few minutes without vomiting. That’s all I’m looking for. And I wouldn’t mind NOT looking like a tub of $#@! in vacation photos. The lens doesn’t lie! While more exercise will  help, shedding the FAT weight equivalent to a rucksack helps even more. For that, I plan to…

EAT HEALTHIER AND EAT LESS

 

More on this later. The food plan doesn’t start until January 5….and I have BEER waiting in the fridge. 

WHAT ARE YOUR RESOLUTIONS FOR 2016?

 

STEADY ON THE HELM, EYES ON THE HORIZON

Note: I talk numbers later in this post, lots of numbers, so bear with the more didactic start to my year end post.

I DON’T DO PREDICTIONS

2016There’s nothing wrong with predictions, I just think other authors tackle the subject better. Why reinvent the wheel, so to speak. Take a moment to read Russell Blake’s End of an Era and Joe Konrath’s New Years Resolution for Writers. Each author takes a different approach, but you’ll notice a common theme at the core of each post. Indie authors need to write, AND WRITE A LOT, to be successful. Not exactly rocket science, but it’s worth repeating. I’m going to make a small tweak to that message, which I think is critical to success.

WRITE WHAT YOU ENJOY WRITING—A LOT. Once again, no atoms have been split so far, but this is an important distinction, and part of the overall theme of this post. You can probably guess why.

Ship in wavesThe past two to three years has been tumultuous for both the indie and traditional publishing industry. Authors have seen ups and downs, like waves, and panic has ensued when they starts the downward journey into the trough. Of course, the waves come in different sizes for each author, and in some cases, the ride down is indeed scary—just like the ride up a massive wave of sales can be exhilarating. Kristine Kathryn Rusch does a far better job describing the wave metaphor in one her most memorable 2015 posts—The Hard Part. 

HERE’S THE THING. Storms always pass, leaving mostly calm seas.

You need to build a career strong and stable enough to weather these storms (real and perceived)—so you’re still around when the winds die down and the clouds part. 

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What’s worked for me? You’ll be glad you didn’t pay for this. Ready? In keeping with the nautical theme:

KEEP A STEADY HAND ON THE HELM—WRITE WHAT YOU WANT TO WRITE

KEEP AN EYE ON THE HORIZON—PLAN FOR THE LONG HAUL

ADVERTISE SMARTLY AND FREQUENTLY—I know, that’s not a nautical term. 

Feel let down? You’re not alone. I felt the same way when I dug into what has brought me the most success over the past five years. No tricks or gimmicks. This is it! And this is why I don’t do predictions. I don’t care what’s predicted for the next six month or year. Predictions have never changed the CORE of my approach. They’re little more than distractions. That’s not to say I ignore trends or pass on sudden opportunities. I just make sure they fit into one of the CORE tenets of my approach.

And I’m not claiming this was my master strategy all along. Far from it. It somehow naturally developed, likely while I was juggling a day job and publishing two to three books a year. I didn’t have time for distractions. I spent 95% of my available time WRITING and the rest developing long-term GOALS. Many of those goals seemed unattainable and SO far away at the time. Like a dream—but I saw the importance of pursuing them, regardless, in order to build a CAREER that could smash through waves. READ MY 2014 POST ON DIVERSIFICATION to learn more about these strategies.

I still have a long way to go, but based on 2015 numbers, I feel good about my  strategy. 

WHAT HAVE I DONE IN 2015? 

I released a grand total of one 75K word book and one 25K word novella (in Russell Blake’s Kindle World). Not exactly my most prolific publishing year. I typically release about three times this amount.

I wrote and delivered Fractured State (105K words) to Thomas and Mercer. Being the first book in a new series, I spent a considerable amount of time building the Fractured State world before writing in it. A sacrifice I was willing to make in order to realize the long term goal of publishing with Thomas and Mercer. More on that later.

I launched The Perseid Collapse Series Kindle World, which took an extraordinary amount of time and energy to coordinate. WELL WORTH THE EFFORT on many fronts. The world has attracted top notch authors across several genres. I couldn’t be happier or more humbled to be a part of it. Thank you to every author involved, and to Sean F. at Kindle Worlds for believing in The Perseid Collapse. To date, 25 novellas wait to be read by fans of post-apocalyptic and thriller fictionwith more on the way. 

I moved from Maine to Indiana. Don’t ask. Needless to say, this was the BIGGEST, unavoidable distraction of the year, and likely cost me the writing and release of a book. From March through the end of June, it was a non-stop event.

At this point, you’re probably thinking that I had a mediocre sales year. We all know the formula for success, right? Publish, publish, and publish again! While there’s certainly truth to this. I’m going to show you some surprising numbers, based on a very modest publishing year by my standards.

Underachiever

THE NUMBERS

-Overall income is UP 61.5% over 2014. Remember, 2014 was UP 57% over 2013. NOT A BAD YEAR AT ALL, considering my modest production schedule.

Ebook sales are up 20% (units sold increased by 25%), not including  Kindle Worlds or Kindle Unlimited numbers.

Paper is down by 25%, but this has never been a significant income area.

Audio unit numbers are down 6.5%, but sales are up 37%. Head scratcher, but deeper analysis shows that the royalty escalator clause (no longer offered) kicked in big time this year for The Perseid Collapse books, and I’m getting paid more per audiobook. I can’t stress the importance of audiobooks to building a strong career. Audiobooks account for 15% of my total business, and they seem less susceptible to some of the sales cycle storms that occasionally strike. Do some research here. It’s not a guarantee of quick income, but it is a viable long term strategy. It has paid off handsomely for me in both genres, more so in the post-apocalyptic books. Invest in audiobooks—NOW!

Kindle Unlimited. You’re either going to love this part or hate it. For me, it’s a love story. Let’s start at the beginning. All of my titles are in Kindle Select, but it hasn’t always been this way. My Black Flagged Series had spent nearly two years out of select, gaining LITTLE traction in the wider world of ebooks. When I finished the series in 2013 (4 books over two years), I took the series wide after enjoying enough success with the books to quit my day job (the books sold well to say the least). Good thing I had a hot post-apocalyptic series in the works, because going WIDE didn’t work. Not even BookBub could not ignite a steady income stream outside of Amazon. It took me until June of 2015, right before the advent of KU 2.0, to throw it all back into Kindle Select. Good timing. KU 2.0 boosted income across all of my book.

Units borrowed increased 132% over 2014. Close to 25K units total. After July, I divided pages read by the KENPC calculation for each novel to arrive at unit numbers since the program was now measured by pages read. For 2015, sales through KU increased by 158%, and much of that came from the second half of the year under KU 2.0. The Black Flagged franchise was a big part of that.

Kindle Worlds. It’s hard to compare this from year to year, since 2014 was my first year publishing on Amazon’s fan fanfiction platform. Here are the raw numbers. Between three novellas and an omnibus, I’ve sold close to 9,000 units in Blake Crouch’s Wayward Pines Kindle World. I had a big surge in  sales when Wayward Pines hit Fox Network as a mini-series. That was the business side of why I wrote the novellas in 2014. I mostly wrote them because I loved the series and can’t get enough of Blake’s work. That said, a little looking ahead made it a no brainer decision to take time away from The Perseid Collapse series to indulge in Wayward Pines. I also used some time in 2015 to write a novella for Russell Blake’s JET Kindle World, adding another 1,500 units to the Kindle Worlds mix.

ADVANCES made up 10% of my income in 2015. I can’t get into specifics, but 2015 was the first year I was ever paid an advance. I like the concept, and hope to that percentage increase.

Foreign Translation of The Jakarta Pandemic? Let’s just say that German readers weren’t ready for an intense pandemic survival story based around an all-American in New England. Who could have guessed? I was pushing for the translation of my international espionage thriller series. I made money, but thankfully did not invest any of my own capital.

HOW DID I DO THIS?

I aggressively advertised multiple books in both series. This is listed first, because it had the biggest impact—and it’s a bit complicated to pile onto this post (another will follow). In a nutshell, it’s no secret that BOOKBUB is a powerful advertising and book marketing tool…depending upon how you use it. I use it to generate buy through for an entire series and expand readership. A short and long term goal. I don’t mind giving away free books to meet that end.

I experimented with Facebook ads. I’m not going to lie to you. I haven’t seen uber success selling books directly through Facebook, though like any hardcore gambler, I’m convinced my luck is about to take a turn for the better with the next ad.  Always experimenting. With that said, I have seen considerable success growing my mailing list with targeted Facebook ads.

I grew my mailing list from around 1,000 to 9,000 (not all through Facebook!). They bought a lot of books, full price and at special discounts. My goal for early 2016 is to better engage this list and turn it into a powerful marketing and promotional tool to launch books. Sounds all business-like. Let me rephrase this. I want everyone on the list to look forward to my updates and special offers, especially the ones announcing a book launch.

I resisted the temptation to write another purely post-apocalyptic series, and instead, created the story I’ve been dying to write. Fractured State. No genre is a sure thing, but post-apocalyptic books sell. I know from experience, which is why this was a hard decision to make. I had my reasons. I made some contacts at Thomas and Mercer in 2014, with the hopes that they sign me in 2015. I’ve had my eye on this goal since 2013, when I became a full time writer, knowing that they don’t publish post-apocalyptic novels. By the time my talks with the editorial staff at Thomas and Mercer blossomed, I was in a position to present a full series synopsis and 10K words of the first novel in the series. Fractured State will be published by Thomas and Mercer, in May 2016, followed the second book in January 2017. I have no doubt this decision will make 2016 my most successful year ever.

I diversified in 2014. Every time one of my book titles rose in Amazon rank during a promotion, buyers, borrowers and audiobook listeners alike were drawn to the commotion—and all of my books. Sales across all platforms increased, contributing heavily to the bottom line.

I had a little help from my friends. I certainly didn’t do this alone. I can’t stress enough the importance of community for writers. We all sit behind desks most of the day, by ourselves, and there is only so much you can do to get the word out about your books. I love helping other authors, and find that I’m not alone in that feeling. THANK YOU to everyone that helped. This includes writers and READERS!

Those readers keep buying my books! And to that, I am eternally grateful.

SHALL I END HERE? WHAT ELSE CAN I SAY?

2016?

-I shall write the books I want to write. As many as I can. It’s worked for me so far.

-I shall advertise aggressively.

-I shall stay in Kindle Select, even if the seas look rough.

-I will continue to look as far ahead as possible and steadily build the sturdiest ship for those waters.

-Hopefully go on a nice vacation.  

I WISH YOU ALL THE BEST IN 2016!

What are your plans for the NEW YEAR?

 

 

 

 

 

My Craziest #ebook Deal Ever—HAS EXPIRED

UPDATE: DEALS ON ALL BOOKS ENDED DEC 24th. Sorry you missed out this time around!

Jack nicholsonFREE BOOKS, MASSIVELY DISCOUNTED BOOKS! I’m EITHER in the holiday spirit, OR, I’ve lost my mind. My wife nodded gently at the latter—she knows me best. 😉


HERE’S THE BOTTOM LINE.
All of my Black Flagged books are on sale or free for a limited time. Keep reading to learn more.

3d-boxed-set-steven-konkoly-cFor the next few days, you can grab the Black Flagged Box Set (Books 2-4) for $0.99. That’s a 95% off buying all three separately and 90% off the regular price of the Box Set ($9.99)! FOLLOW THIS LINK to the deal on AMAZON.

 

 

1400 Steven Konkoly ebook Black Flagged_ALPHAAnd if you don’t already have Black Flagged Alpha, the first book in the series, you can get Black Flagged Alpha for $0.99 for a limited time. CLICK THIS LINK TO GET BLACK FLAGGED ALPHA.

 

 

 

1395 Steven Konkoly ebook Black Flagged_REDUX_2015And if you just like FREE books, you can grab the second book in the series, Black Flagged Redux, for FREE. FOLLOW THIS LINK to the free book.

 

 

TIS THE SEASON TO GIVE LOW PRICED BOOKS AS GIFTS! This is the first time I’ve offered the Box Set at a discount, and I’ve decided to go full crazy on the price for the holidays. AND WHY NOT SPREAD THE CHEER? You can gift a copy of the bundle and/or Black Flagged Alpha to a friend or family member that enjoys books by Tom Clancy, Vince Flynn, Brad Thor, Robert Ludlum, Clive Cussler or Lee Child. The best part? They won’t know you got it on sale! See example below to find the button to GIFT a copy. All you need is your friend or family member’s email address and you’re a few clicks away!

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As always, thank you for your continued readership and support. It means the world to me.

Have a wonderful holiday season!

Steve

P.S. The Perseid Collapse will be on sale for $0.99 of FRIDAY!

The Black Flagged saga continues…

with JET BLACK, a novella written for Russell Blake’s JET Kindle World.

JET with logoWhat does that mean? Glad I pretended you asked. It means that I’ve written a 25,ooo word story (1/4 of a novel) that takes place between Black Flagged VEKTOR and Black Flagged REPRISALS (to be released in late 2015 or early 2016).

JET BLACK mixes Mossad operatives from Russell Blake’s bestselling JET series, with your favorite Black Flagged characters, in an explosive story that reignites the Black Flagged series.

Remember Dr. Reznikov, the twisted bioweapons scientist captured in Black Flagged Apex and “liberated” in Black Flagged Vektor? He’s back in circulation, and everyone wants him dead…as usual. JET BLACK is a pure adrenaline ride, imbedded with the kinds of clever twists and nuanced agency politics that defined the Black Flagged series.

Above all, readers will be introduced to Russell Blake’s femme fatale, Jet. I’ve read most of the JET series, and know you will enjoy getting to know the Mossad agent. She’s like Jessica Petrovich’s refined twin. Deadly, calculating, highly trained…get ready for an epic clash that will leave you reeling.

Grab a copy of JET BLACK now for $1.99!

Also, check out my interview with Russell Blake to learn more about my experience writing JET BLACK. 

BLURB for JET BLACK:

“At a luxury resort on the coast of Uruguay, Jet prepares her Mossad team for a daring attack against a Russian mafiya boss suspected of selling bioweapons to the Iranians. Simultaneously, Jessica Petrovich readies a small team of Black Flagged operatives with order to kill Dr. Anatoly Reznikov, the source of the mafiya bioweapons.

There’s only one problem—BOTH TARGETS ARE LOCATED IN THE SAME SUITE, and neither team knows the other is coming!

Two of the most lethal femme fatales in recent thriller history are about to come face to face in the explosive return of the Black Flagged saga.”

 

 

Surviving KU 2.0

1235 Steve Konkoly KWPC cover_7I’ve thought long and hard about my strategy moving forward, and I’ve decided to…

WRITE THE BOOKS I LOVE AND PUBLISH THEM WITH AMAZON. 

THE SAME THING I’VE DONE SINCE THE BEGINNING. 

Somehow this has worked for me amidst all of the changes, controversy, new programs, tweaks to the programs and general shifts in the publishing landscape. I suspect it wasn’t a fluke. 

AND I’m not suggesting that I don’t have a plan. I DEFINITELY HAVE A PLAN, but it involves a steady, non-reactionary approach to building a career. In fact, I’ll share some exciting news with you next week that casts more light on this plan.

STEADY ON THE HELM WITH AN EYE ON THE HORIZON. 

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Interview with Alex Shaw

The Perseid Collapse Kindle Worlds Interview Series

International man of mystery, ex-pat, author and father: Alex Shaw

Alex ShawThe Perseid Collapse Kindle World Interview series is back, and there’s no better author to mark its return than Alex Shaw. A U.K. native and international business consultant, Alex is uniquely suited to writing the world-spanning thrillers offered in his Aidan Snow novels—he’s either resided in or extensively visited most of the locations detailed in books. I can neither confirm nor deny whether he’s been to Maine, the setting for Black Line, his Kindle Worlds novella, but it wouldn’t surprise me to learn that his travels have brought him to the Maine coast. Without further delay, let’s have a chat with Sir Alex Shaw. I couldn’t resist that.

91hSmTvBwBL._SL1500_How did you link Black Line to The Perseid Collapse Kindle World? Is there any crossover or meetings between your characters and any of the original characters?

I linked my story by having it happen at the same time as the Perseid Collapse, but futher up the coast in Camden. None of the original characters appear in the first novella for the simple reason that I wanted to have as much freedom as possible with the story and characters.

And I presume you’ll deny colluding with Murray McDonald (another infamous denizen of the U.K.) to single handedly destroy another American city? I’m noticing a trend with the U.K. authors. 😉

I think you’ve capitalized on a unique feature of The Perseid Collapse Kindle World, by keeping the original characters out of your story. Stories can center on the collapse, and not my characters or specific events. This has the added benefit of widening the scope of writers that will feel comfortable writing in the world. The Perseid Collapse World isn’t reserved for post-apocalyptic writers.

That’s what attracted me to the concept. My story is very much a thriller, as this is what I generally write, and am most comfortable with.

As you know, I have a special place in my heart for covert operations thrillers—another reason I was “thrilled” to hear you were interested in writing for the world.

What major theme comes across the clearest in your story? Is this a theme found consistently in your other works?

The themes of Russian aggression and terrorism are present in my novels, which are partly set in Ukraine (Cold Blood, Cold Black and Cold East). These two themes are also present in Black Line, however the terrorism now emanates from China.

I heard a rumor that the Russians might be involved Black Line too. Sorry, small spoiler.

Let’s talk about your main character for a minute. I think readers will like Jack Tate. What can you tell us about him?

Jack Tate is a former member of the Special Air Service (SAS), who has been seconded to a new unit within the British Intelligence Service (SIS). He has been posted to the US, and is on vacation before starting his new role. I think readers will like Tate, as he sees the US from a foreigner’s point of view, and is not as jaded by any political, class or racial views. He is almost like one of King Arthur’s nights in his quest to protect the innocent, but he doesn’t ride a horse.

Are you saying Americans have strong views on politics? I’m not sure where you got that idea? 😉 Tate is a fantastic character. I particularly appreciate his no nonsense approach and response to American customs and procedures. It’s a fascinating view through a unique set of eyes.

I couldn’t help notice that you like to write about SAS operatives—a trend that extends through your other novels. I’m sure readers that enjoy Black Line will want to know about your core series.

81UJKCNbSiL._SL1500_ 81r00-i5SbL._SL1500_ 81pxJGZ0e3L._SL1500_I wrote a series of thrillers with an ex-SAS character Aidan Snow: Cold Blood, Cold Black and Cold East. These deal more with Islamic terror and Russian aggression in Europe and the Middle East. In Black Line, Jack Tate is a way for me to explore what would happen if a character with the same training as Aidan Snow found himself in the US during a catastrophic, EMP induced collapse. Despite the similarity in character backgrounds, Tate is significantly different than Aidan Snow.

I also wrote the first, in what will be a series, of Military vampire books: Delta Force Vampire: Insurgency

Now I’m very intrigued. Maine has hosted its share of vampires in fiction. Most notably Stephen King’s novel, Salem’s Lot. This may sound crazy, but I think you could have brought your special operations vampires to Maine, and felt right at home. It would have been a Perseid Collapse first…not that I’m pressuring you. 😉

Speaking of pressure as a writer, most authors contributing to the The Perseid Collapse Kindle World reported that they nearly doubled their normal writing output. Did you experience something similar?

I found Black Line faster to write than my novels, as the pace was faster and the story required less research. Jack Tate is a tourist, and like me, he is seeing things for the first time.

Let’s shift to your background. Would you share some of your story about becoming a writer?

When I had the idea to start writing I was living in Ukraine and reading a lot of SAS thriller genre books, what these showed me was that although the authors, many former SAS members, knew their military and operational stuff, they did not know much about some of the locations they were using. One book mentioned Ukraine, briefly. As no one else was writing about Ukraine (the largest European country) I decided that I would. 

It took me 12 years to finish my first novel, I was writing on and off, and sometimes the off lasted a year at a time. I, like all aspiring writers, didn’t know if I could write so wanted to prove to myself that I could. I then took a year trying to get an agent or publisher and failed, before discovering CreateSpace and later KDP. When Kindle launched in the UK I suddenly started to sell quite a few copies. It wasn’t until five years later that, after having written two more books and some novellas, that I decided to approach publishers again. I approached five and got two offers. I now have a contract with Endeavour Press to publish my first three novels. 

That’s a fantastic success story. The world of writing and publishing has certainly changed, and you appear to embody the best of those changes. Do you have a background related to your writing? Interests?

I lived in Ukraine, and still visit when I can (my wife’s side of the family are in Kyiv), which is why I write about the place and the life of ex-pats, as I used to be one. I travelled extensively with my work in the past, so I generally try to write about the places I’ve been and the people I’ve met. This is most noticeable in my second novel, Cold Black, when I write about Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Moscow and Kyiv. I wasn’t in the military or the Secret Intelligence Service, but have friends who have been in both, who are a great help to me. I’m interested in world affairs, which probably is apparent in my writing…and I tend to attempt to be funny.

I’d say your attempts at humor hit the mark. Conversing back and forth with you is always a pleasure.

This may seem like a silly question to you, but your answer will be informative for American readers. Are you a prepper or homesteader? How did you become interested in post-apocalyptic fiction?

We don’t tend to have preppers or homesteaders in the UK, but I do have a few spare tins in the cupboard. When I was kid I was fascinated by a fact I heard (it may have been nonsense) that in Sweden all new houses had to be built with nuclear fall-out shelters underneath. My Nan had an old WW2 underground shelter in her back garden which had been filled in and I used to daydream about what it would be like to use it. I suppose the Walking Dead really rekindled my interest in post-apocalyptic fiction but what also annoyed me (and made me want to write for the Perseid Collapse Kindle World) was that they only showed a very small part of the picture in the US. I wanted to know what happened in the UK, or in the Caribbean or on a military submarine base or in the Artic. Could, would and did it also happen there?

I think the Cold War and the nuclear threat stoked the post-apocalyptic fires around the world…not to mention The Walking Dead. Would it be fair to say that you still see nuclear weapons as the most likely threat today?

At the moment I think the biggest threat to world stability is the possibility of an idiot detonating a nuclear weapon. Be it the Islamic State, Putin or the fat baby in charge of North Korea.

The skinny, underfed Generals surrounding Kim Jong Un wouldn’t agree with you. In their eyes, he’s svelte!

What are you working on next, aside from a vampire installment to The Perseid Collapse Series World?

My third Aidan Snow novel, COLD EAST, was published a few weeks ago. It follows the storyline of a missing suitcase nuke that has been found by al-Qaeda. But being a thriller, it’s not that simple. The question quickly becomes: who really has the nuke and what is the target?

Ah, the good ole’ days of twists and turns. I wrote more of those than I care to admit in the Black Flagged books.

Beyond my latest release, I have three works in progress, which will hopefully appear later in the year. One is my second military vampire novel, the second is a crime novel and the third is an offshoot of the Aidan Snow books.

Sounds like you’ll be busier than ever this year, which is a good feeling!

Check out Alex Shaw’s website at http://www.alexwshaw.com, where you can find news and links to all of his works.

Of course, don’t forget to check out Black Line, Alex’s novella for The Perseid Collapse Series Kindle World.

The Pine Cones Writers Den is on fire…

with awards, new releases and milestones reached.

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What is the Pine Cones Writers Den? PCWD is a robust writers group based out of the Portland, Maine area. Comprised of ten members, spanning just about every genre you can imagine, each monthly meeting takes on a life of its own, as thriller writers critique memoir and chic lit writers critique post-apocalyptic tales. Without a doubt, the depth and variety of critique has led to vast improvements in my writing over the years, pushing me in directions that I likely wouldn’t have considered if I sat around, high-fiving with other thriller writers all the time. Not that I don’t like hanging out with other thriller writers!

The group is always busy; submitting to agents,  publishing on their own and striking deals to expand their author footprints. Each meeting brings exciting news and new manuscript samples to the table. There’s never a dull moment. With that said, I’d like to highlight a few of the most recent accomplishments/releases.

Tim QueeneyFirst up, Tim Queeney, with his second release in two months! Seriously, that’s impressive. Starting with his Perseid Collapse Series Kindle Worlds release, The Borealis Incident, in February, he follows up with book 3 in his Perry Helion thriller-adventure series, The Ceres Plague. I just finished a review for The Ceres Plague, which sounds something like this:

A1BejJmuU2L._SL1500_“The Ceres Plague, Tim Queeney’s follow up to The Atlas Fracture, takes the Perry Helion series to the next level. The action is more intense, the plot is deeper and the scope is wider. Carrying elements from The Atlas Fracture forward, Queeney continues Dr. Randall Crandee’s diabolical plan to manufacture a genetically programmed virus to “save” humanity in the most unexpected way imaginable, landing Helion and his reluctant partners in the middle of a deadly international conspiracy.

The story starts with agent Perry Helion, DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agencey) agent, caught in the crossfire of a doomed salvage diving expedition. Never satisfied with the obvious, circumstances surrounding the diving operation lead Helion to dig deeper. What he uncovers sends shockwaves through the U.S. intelligence community, pointing to a shadowy international cabal with a reach so vast, Helion may no longer be able to trust the very people he’s relied upon for years. Cautious at every turn, he begins to assemble the devastating truth about the Paracelsus Group, and their burning obsession with Dr. Randall Crandee’s work.  

Queeney’s vision for the series expands throughout The Ceres Plague, briefly exposing the demons and exterior motivations that drive the enigmatic DARPA agent’s actions—clearly opening a channel for future exploration. Supporting characters are further developed, and the story’s antagonist—the twisted, but insanely rational Dr. Crandee—is delivered with a stunningly, devilish brilliance.

The author has a penchant for cold, desolate settings, because the reader is once again taken to the end of the earth—Alaska and the Bering Strait—the perfect backdrop to hatch an apocalyptic plot. With a surplus of abandoned Cold War bases spread among hundreds of islands of Alaska’s coast, Queeney couldn’t have chosen a better backdrop for the type of scientific research Dr. Crandee has in mind. I couldn’t help imagine the types of nefarious activities that could be conducted today on these islands, never to be discovered. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination. For now, Tim Queeney has cornered that market. I can’t wait for the next installment in the Perry Helion series.”

61fMsCBfW0L._UX250_Next up, Joseph Souza, award winning author and prolific writer. Joe’s most recent novel, Unpaved Surfaces, was selected by the prestigious Kindle Scout program for a publishing deal with Amazon imprint publisher, Amazon Press. Unpaved Surfaces is a bit of a departure from Joe’s recent reign of terror, which includes three zombie/undead novels and two post-apocalyptic plague thrillers (one is on the way). Unpaved Surfaces is vintage Joseph Souza, tapping into the core writing node that launched his career. Not that he can’t write a mean undead thriller…HE CAN. Trust me.

Check out my review of Unpaved Surfaces:

814JpmlQayL._SL1500_“Joseph Souza’s award winning novel, Unpaved Surfaces, is a hauntingly beautiful story of loss, redemption and reconciliation. Set in Portland, Maine, Unpaved Surfaces weaves an unforgettable tapestry of sorrow, guilt and struggle around Keith, the father of a young boy who disappeared one year earlier. With his life derailed in more ways than one, Keith is starting to come unglued. Surreal visions of his missing son, Auggie, start to fill this void, creating a tempest of doubt and renewed vigor to uncover his son’s fate. Keith’s story is just one of several told by Souza, in a tightly wrapped suspense that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the end.

Souza explores sach family member’s private journey through the aftermath of Auggie’s disappearance, masterfully putting the reader inside a family on the verge of falling apart. The experience is both heart-wrenching and rewarding—heavy and uplifting. Souza takes his considerable talents to the next level in Unpaved Surfaces, delivering an emotionally charged, exquisitely tuned suspense story.”

1414094820407Last but not least, Bryan WigginsBryan has hosted PCWD from the start, graciously opening his home to the group once a month. When he’s not writing, he’s a creative/graphic designer…the PCWD logo at the beginning of this post is Bryan’s creation. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. His graphic designs have become iconic Maine business logos.

Bryan recently finished Autumn Imago, a brilliantly constructed, exquisitely written literary fiction novel. Bryan delivers a powerful, emotionally charged story about loss, love and redemption set mostly in Baxter State Park, a raw, often chaotic wilderness in the shadows of Mount Katahdin—at the northern most tip of the Appalachian Trail. The setting, vividly and beautifully described by Bryan, is just as powerful as the narrative itself.

Bryan’s journey is about to take a serious leap forward…I can’t wait to see where he lands.

The Women of The Perseid Collapse series Kindle World

AR shaw
A.R. Shaw

Tim Queeney
Tim Queeney

Two contributing authors to The Perseid Collapse Series Kindle World talk about the female lead roles they created for the post-apocalyptic world that unfolds in the series.

Make sure you check out their novellas, Deception on Durham Road and The Borealis Incident.

A.R. Shaw and Tim Queeney, you have the stage:

“Steve Konkoly’s The Perseid Collapse Kindle World launched in February 2015 with nine novellas. Two of those original Perseid Collapse novellas had female lead characters: The Borealis Incident by Tim Queeney and Deception on Durham Road by A.R. Shaw. In this joint blog post, A.R. Shaw and I talk about those female characters and how they fit in The Perseid Collapse world and the even right here in the real world.

Tim Queeney: Going back even just a few decades, it’s hard to imagine a female deputy commander of a U. S. Air Force Base. Yet today, writing a woman lead character like Lt. Colonel Dana Wright in my Perseid Collapse novella, The Borealis Incident, is not something that requires a great leap of faith from readers. Woman have made huge strides in the military, with female pilots and ship drivers not an unusual occurrence. The biggest issue Dana has to face in Borealis is that the base security officer doesn’t want her driving alone to the missile warning radar site 13 miles across the Greenland tundra from the base itself. Perhaps he’s concerned because Dana is a woman, but maybe he’d be just as uneasy with the practice if the deputy commander was a man.

A.R. Shaw’s Deception on Durham Road also has a female lead, Jamie Michaud. But instead of a military officer, Jaime is a mom working to protect her two daughters…”

Read the rest on Tim Queeney’s blog

A Rising Tide Lifts All Boats

shutterstock_76904563Instead of TIDE, a better word is WAVE, since The Perseid Collapse Series Kindle Worlds launch has been been an incredible tsunami (pun intended) of co-promotion, cooperation and buzz surrounding all of the novellas in the series. I couldn’t be happier with the level of participation, encouragement and sharing by all of the authors involved…not to mention the readers and fans that have multiplied our efforts. The whole thing has been awe-inspiring.

One of my sincerest hopes from the start, was that The Perseid Collapse Series Kindle World would Lift All Boats, helping to cross-expose readerships. My readers would check out other authors’ novellas and novels…their readers would check out mine. I know this has been Sean T. Smithhappening, but the extent of the impact didn’t sink in until recently. I received a message from Sean T. Smith, author of the novella Sunshine Patriots and The Wrath Series, which blew me away.

Rather than recap what Sean relayed, I’m going to turn this into a guest post. Take it away, Sean!

“When Steven Konkoly invited me to write a novella for his newly minted PERSEID COLLAPSE Kindle World, I jumped at the chance. I didn’t know much about Kindle Worlds, but I figured that since Steven was writing killer books in a similar vein to what I write and actually selling lots of them, it was a no-brainer.

My first novel, OBJECTS OF WRATH was published by Permuted Press last year, and I had absurd expectations about what my sales were going to be like. The novel is the first in a trilogy, and the second book released in August of 2014. The final book came out on February 2, the same day as the PERSEID COLLAPSE world launched.

My publisher is primarily known for zombie books, although that’s something which has been slowly changing. But my books aren’t horror in any way, and I struggled to find readers. I’ve had good reviews, but not nearly enough of them. It was a let-down for me, watching the slow slide into oblivion that my books were taking.

But…

After the launch of the PERSEID COLLAPSE Kindle World, several things happened. First, I got to see a nice Amazon ranking for the first time; SUNSHINE PATRIOTS, the novella I wrote for Steve, made it up to number three in Kindle Worlds for thrillers and mysteries, and it’s still at number 9 last I checked for top-rated thriller/mysteries.

The other authors, Bobby, Steven, and AR Shaw in particular, did a fantastic job at cross promotion, all across social media. Steven blogged and tweeted to his fan base, and the other authors did the same. I tried to pitch in, but my reach is still rather limited. Over the period of the last month and a half, I’ve seen my blog outreach increase, my Twitter following grow, and my sales rank spike dramatically. And it didn’t just go up for SUNSHINE PATRIOTS, all of my books saw nice jumps.

The increase in sales for my other novels led to my first book being approved for a Book Bub promotion, which is happening today and tomorrow. I should see another spike in sales beyond what I’ve already experienced, and find new readers. In particular, I think my books are getting in front of the RIGHT readers for the first time, and that’s a vital thing for an emerging author.

Not to share my dirty laundry, but here’s a screen shot from this morning. The long, consistent tail over the last month is a direct result of participating in the PERSEID COLLAPSE Kindle World. Obviously, I’d like to see my author rank and my sales get a whole lot better, but the difference thus far has been dramatic.”

This makes me smile. Congratulations, Sean. I can’t wait to read the continuation of The Sunshine Patriots series.

SeanT

Author Spotlight: Angery American

The Perseid Collapse Series Kindle World

Author Spotlight: A. American

917Z35X27zL._UX250_When most readers think of modern survivalist/prepper fiction, A. American’s Survivalist Series is at the very top of their list. I’m honored and excited to have such a brand name in the genre join the team of writers contributing to The Perseid Collapse Series world.

A. American got his start by posting the first story in his Survivalist series on a forum, where it exploded with popularity. Before long, he’d signed a series deal with 9145x8VvIbL._SL1500_Penguin Group…the rest is history. His novella for the Perseid Collapse Series signals his return to self-publishing, where he plans to hang his hat for now. I have no doubt he will find the change refreshing and liberating. Best of all, readers will get his books quicker, and from what I’ve read, they’re in for a real treat.

Angery is the real deal, and it shines in his work. He truly talks the talk and walks the walk so to say…makes me feel like a personal readiness weekend warrior. While you wait for his novella, please check out the Survivalist Series and his comprehensive website, Angery American News. There’s a ton of good stuff in both.

 

Interview with Murray McDonald

The Perseid Collapse Series Kindle World Interview Series:

Bestselling thriller writer and Highland warrior: Murray McDonald

Photo-on-2011-05-04-at-16-241x300Murray McDonald is a long time friend in the grand scheme of my writing career. Pretty much from the very start. We both rose through the Indie ranks with covert operations/political thrillers, sharing strategies, comparing story ideas and having some good laughs along the way. He’s been unflaggingly supportive of my writing, and didn’t hesitate to offer a story for The Perseid Collapse Series Kindle World.

As a native Scot, and a denizen of the U.K., I didn’t expect Murray to write a story about Doomsday Preppers surviving the Perseid Collapse “event.” Prepping hasn’t caught fire in the U.K., like it has in the U.S., and it’s not for a lack of post-apocalyptic imagination or a spirit of rugged individualism. Murray offers a bit of hilarious insight into WHY, a little later. I had something else in mind for his story, and so did Murray! As a matter of fact, he far exceeded my hopes and expectations with the story he pursued, helping to answer one of the primary questions readers posed about the series. Obviously, he had some of the same questions.

Without further delay, let’s hear it straight from Murray.

Being the questioning type, I wondered how the Chinese managed to pull off the attack, and how could the US have been blind sided. A quick call to Steve revealed we had roughly the same idea as to how they would have done it, although most definitely from a fictional sense!

Murray is being kind here. He essentially confirmed that I had taken some liberties with the story’s initial set up. I think he more accurately called it “bullshitting.” Sorry. Had to set the record straight. 😉 Your story?

Yes. My story therefore centers around the final 24 hours before the event and the massive operation to ensure that Red Dragon succeeds.

For those that don’t know, Red Dragon is the multifaceted operation led by the Chinese that is responsible for The Perseid Collapse.

Rockland2The Perseid Collapse Series obviously falls under the post-apocalyptic genre, but it also delves into the technothriller realm. I hear you’ve come up with a new genre to describe ROCKLAND.

Technoprepper, I more or less just made that up. I wonder if it will catch on?

I think you’ve just redefined a thriving subsection of post-apocalyptic writing. I hope to see this category on Amazon shortly. 😉

One of your strengths as a writer is character development. Tell us a little about your main character. What will readers like about him or her.

There are a few, the goodie, the Police Chief, a large powerful guy who lost his wife during the craziness of the pandemic and is struggling to have a relationship with his son because of it. He also is convinced another event will happen and has prepared his town to make up for his previous failings during the pandemic in DC. The baddie, Special Agent Eva Young, is a calm, beautiful—cold hearted killer. Her job is to make sure the Chief’s son is killed.

Both characters make quite a splash in your novella, particularly Special Agent Eva Young. She really embodies some of the sinister characters you present in your other work. Ruthless, brutal and single focused. She leaves one hell of a trail of dead bodies in her path.

Fans of your books will absolutely love Rockland. This is classic Murray McDonald. For those not familiar with your work, how would you describe your stories?

I try to write books I’d love to read myself. Plenty of action with a twist and turn here and there that once you see it you kick yourself as the clues were there. I also take a view on storylines that pretty much anything is possible, when it comes to fiction I sometimes consider the things that have happened in the past. For example, had I written in the 1930’s (and maybe even early 40’s!) of a fascist state that would commit the holocaust tha