Treasures of Dodrazeb: The Origin Key

Treasures of Dodrazeb: The Origin Key

I’m excited to announce today that Silver Empire’s first novel, Treasures of Dodrazeb: The Origin Key by my friend S.D. McPhail is now available for pre-order on Amazon. This is hands down the best third century Persian historical sci-fi sword-and-science book that I’ve ever read. But don’t take my word for it.

  • “A Smart, thrilling mix of history and fantasy. S.D. McPhail is definitely an author to watch.”

    Brian Niemeier, Campbell Award-nominated author of Souldancer.

  • “The Treasures of Dodrazeb: The Origin Key is a stunning debut novel from an author to watch. McPhail’s creation is packed with tension and excitement, from the political machinations of the empire to the almost Atlantean history of Dodrazeb and mythical Anutupi. The imagery is enchanting, but the adventure is mesmerizing.”

    Ashley Chappell, author of the Dreams of Chaos series.

In the third century, the Persian Empire was a world power whose influence stretched from China to Europe. The king and his sons maintained peace with a powerful army—until the day a horde of screaming vandals attacked the king.

Pursuing a criminal known as the Viper, Prince Rasteem becomes suspicious when the Persian army easily conquers Dodrazeb. Princess Laneffri is desperate to expel the Persian invaders from her kingdom and she will stop at nothing to protect its secrets—especially the Origin Key. Is Dodrazeb hiding the Viper or something even more dangerous? When Rasteem learns what the Origin Key can do, he must find a way to make the princess an ally to save both their kingdoms from annihilation.

Don’t wait – pre-order your copy today and get the special early price of only $2.99!

Ted Cruz is a Dealbreaker


sadtedBy choosing not to endorse Donald Trump tonight, Ted Cruz guaranteed that he will never be the GOP presidential nominee.

Everyone in DC hates him. Tonight he showed us why. It’s not because he’s separate from the establishment. He’s not and never was. The tail end of the primary cycle demonstrated this conclusively. The establishment rallied around Cruz as their candidate of last resort. It was eminently predictable – and predicted. We know him as their red headed stepchild. But even red headed stepchildren are still part of the family.

But now we know exactly why he’s the red headed stepchild and not the well loved son. He’s a weasel who can’t keep a deal. How do we know? Simple. Ted Cruz was on stage tonight because he’d agreed to endorse Trump. That’s how these things work. If he hadn’t agreed to do it, they wouldn’t have given him such a prominent speaking slot. So clearly he agreed – and then failed to follow through.

This is going to haunt him for the rest of his political career whether or not Trump wins the White House. Ted Cruz is a deal breaker. Whatever his beliefs or your beliefs or anybody else’s beliefs, Ted Cruz has proven beyond a doubt that he’s a man you simply can’t work with. When he runs next – whether in 2020 or 20204 – he will have no allies of any substance because nobody will trust him. And they shouldn’t. He can’t keep his word.

He’s also doomed with the voters. Half of those who voted for him already held their nose to do it. The 35% who voted for Trump will never vote for Cruz now because he just spat in their faces.

Ted Cruz will never be the GOP presidential nominee. Once again, he’s shot himself in the foot with his own ambition. Then again, maybe it’s just his Asperger’s.



Morgon and the kids are heading out of town this weekend o visit family. For the first time in a very long while, I’m going to have a good chunk of time at home on my own. I intend to spend it writing. I’m currently about 62,000 words into my first novel, Post Traumatic Stress. I’m targeting 110k for the first draft, with the intention of trimming it down to about 80-90,000 words for the final draft. The draft as written is currently on track for that.

The novel comes in bursts. I’ve gone long periods without much time to write. On the other hand, I’ve had some very good days. I’ve seen friends online talk about 2,000 words being a good day. That’s not me. When I get in the zone, I get in the zone. My best day so far has been over 4,000 words – and that was a day where I’d already been at work all day. When I get in the zone I can pretty easily turn out 500 to 1,000 words in an hour.

This weekend I’ll have little in the way of distractions. I’ll also, for once, have rather a lot of time. I plan to get myself in the zone and move, and I’m targeting 20,000 words as my goal from Friday morning through Monday evening. I think I can make that happen.

More fun, I plan to “live tweet” as I write. Don’t expect something every five minutes, but expect regular progress updates and maybe the occasional hint of something that’s just made it into the book. You can follow the fun on my Twitter feed. Writing will begin in earnest after I get home from work on Friday evening. This will either go very well or very poorly, but either way it ought to be entertaining.

Post Traumatic Stress

Everybody faces demons in war. After surviving a helicopter crash in Afghanistan, Sergeant Michael Alexander came face to face with actual demons. When the Army sent him home on a medical discharge, the demons followed. Now they’re going after his friends and terrorizing his home town. Now Michael must face up to the past, with the help of his not-quite-father-in-law, a young friend, a hapless and overly bureaucratic secret military group that gets in the way more than it helps, and an ancient order of knights chartered by the Vatican.

Nobody Actually Cares About Plagiarism


melaniaIn the computer science profession there’s a bit of a truism. For four years your college indoctrinates you never to copy anybody else’s code. Do your own work! Then you hit the real world and the first thing you do is… copy everyone else’s code.

Working code is the gold standard in the software industry. And while there are signatures of code that you can often use to detect the author, the reality is that there are only so many ways to translate the same basic algorithm into working code. The truism above is a bit overblown. But it also recognizes a simple reality in our profession: working code proliferates.

Quite a lot of code is written using example code, a segment of a co-worker’s code, an online tutorial, or some other similar snippet as a working model. When we want to do something in our software, quite often one of the first things we do is seek out some example of actual working code… and then use it as a base. Is that plagiarism? Your college would say yes, and an undergraduate could find himself failing a course (or worse) for such an offense. Out in the real world it’s basically expected. Headaches often ensue if the example code has bugs in it. But often it’s the fastest way to get to something that works.

Don’t get me wrong – out and out plagiarism of source code is a copyright violation. It’s straight up illegal, and very few developers actually do that. What I’m describing is a substantially lesser “sin.”

But is it even a sin?

Consider two scenarios: in scenario (A) I use example code from a hypothetical source to get my own code working. In scenario (B) I fight through the (often poor) documentation to get to working code on my own. Given my coding idiosyncrasies, would anybody be able to tell the difference between code I wrote in scenario (A) and the code I wrote in scenario (B)? Sometimes yes. But far more often the answer is no.

Frankly, most technical fields operate this way. Finding the right answer is what matters, and in many cases there is only one correct answer. Engineering often works this way. Ditto architecture and drafting. If getting the answer right is the primary concern you can basically expect this kind of pattern.

The simple reality is this: outside of a few specialized fields, nobody actually much cares about plagiarism. Authors, musicians, filmmakers, and photographers care, of course. In creative fields, plagiarism is a life and death matter. Journalists care. Academics care. Notice anything that links these fields together? In every case it’s important for the original author to receive credit.

The Melania Trump case is a boring one. Journalists, academics, and creative types care. Evidently they care a lot, if my social media feeds are any indication. Nobody else cares much at all – and frankly, they shouldn’t. Our politicians should be plagiarizing people. I don’t care one bit how original the ideas of any of my elected leaders are. I care that they have good ideas. I want them to plagiarize – for the same reason that I want software engineers to look at working code. I want ideas that work. Original ideas seldom do.

At this point somebody is going to bring up the obligatory example of Joe Biden. Biden, for those not yet up to speed, withdrew from the 1988 presidential campaign over plagiarism. Fair point. Let’s discuss it. I have three responses.

  1. I don’t care. I was ten in 1988, I didn’t follow politics, and I didn’t even know this had happened until twenty years after the fact. It shouldn’t have mattered then, either.
  2. Biden withdrew from the 1988 presidential race in the fall of 1987. The plagiarism scandal played a role, sure. But if he’d truly been well positioned for the run, he could – and should – have survived it.
  3. The world has changed since 1988. Journalists ran the world back then, and journalists didn’t like the plagiarism. They made Biden pay. They’re trying to make Melania pay now. They’re about to find out that journalists don’t run the world anymore.

Does this hurt the Trump campaign? Definitely. But only among those who mostly weren’t voting for him anyway. Nobody else cares.

How Many #NeverTrump Endorse Trump This Week?


sessions_endorses_trumpOne of my own senators, Senator Jeff Sessions, was one of the earliest Donald Trump supporters behind the scenes. Reports show him being friendly to The Donald as early as last fall, and rumor has it that he wrote the GOP nominee’s official immigration plan. Yet the Alabama Senator didn’t officially endorse Trump until February 28th. Why did he wait so long?

Because February 28th was two days before the Alabama primary. The official endorsement came at what was then Trump’s largest rally to date. That rally also happened to be in Alabama.

In other words, they timed the endorsement for maximum effect. Which begs the question: how many supposed #NeverTrump players have planned to endorse Trump all along? And how many are waiting for maximum effect – most likely at Trump’s own request? My guess is “more than zero.”

Don’t get me wrong. I’m quite certain that many #NeverTrumpers are wholly sincere and that many will never, ever endorse him. I’m equally certain that others are merely playing the game. I wholly expect several prominent Republican Trump bashers to make their official endorsements this week.

Turkey Didn’t Happen in Isolation

People react near a military vehicle during an attempted coup in Ankara, Turkey, July 16, 2016.     REUTERS/Tumay Berkin TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

People react near a military vehicle during an attempted coup in Ankara, Turkey, July 16, 2016. REUTERS/Tumay Berkin TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

Yesterday’s coup attempt in Turkey didn’t happen in isolation. Turkey has been at the nexus of global geopolitics since the Trojan War nearly three thousand years ago. Its neighbors have always interfered. There’s no reason to believe that this time is any different. Indeed, the fact that Germany reportedly denied Erdogan asylum indicates that larger forces were at play. The Merkel regime has never met a refugee it didn’t love – so why deny entry to this one? More to the point, though, why deny asylum to the leader of a nation thatthe EU has courted for more than a decade?

We all know how Russia has meddled in the Ukraine. But many are less familiar with the US and Western European interference that predated that. Games are afoot. And as I have noted previously, World War is a fact on the ground whether we want it or not. Escalation was inevitable. The coup attempt in Turkey clearly shows that the next phase is upon us. As I predicted early this year, events are accelerating. They will continue to accelerate as this spirals out of control.

There are no longer any good options open to world leaders to prevent a full blown World War – not of the variety that I’ve been calling out. I’m talking about the kind that nobody can any longer pretend is not a true World War. The only options remain are the ones that nobody has the stomach for.

The powder keg isn’t waiting for a spark. We’re not waiting for the fuse to burn. The primer charges are already firing. Expect the bigger explosions to come soon.

An Interview With Mike Cernovich – Part 3


A few weeks ago, as I was finishing up my review of Gorilla Mindset, I reached out to Mike Cernovich for a blog interview. He graciously agreed.

Mr. Cernovich is the author of the aforementioned Gorilla Mindset as well as Danger and Play: Essays on Embracing Masculinity and Juice Power!: How to Juice for Healing, Fat Loss, and Lifelong Health. He’s also the producer of the upcoming documentary Silenced! about the decline of free speech in the modern west. Wednesday’s Part 1 focused on his bestselling book, Gorilla Mindset. Yesterday’s Part 2 focused on writing, publishing, and business. Finally, Today’s Part 3 focuses on Mr. Cernovich himself and his upcoming projects. As always, this interview is presented unedited exactly as he gave it to me.



Aside from authors and works previously listed as inspiration, can you tell us what your own favorite fiction authors and works are?


What non-fiction books have been the most helpful to you in finding your own path?

How to Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie. Nietzsche’s stuff is great as well.

A book about cognitive biases called The Psychology of Judgment and Decision Making also completely changed how I viewed “truth,” along with my own abilities to know the truth.


What did you do before you became a writer?



Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe you’ve long since left the world of real jobs behind. How long ago did you do that, and how did you know you were ready for it?

I’ve been living 100% off of my books and websites for a couple of years, I think.


Do you have a college degree? If so, what in?

Philosophy and Legal Studies major, and and I have a J.D. (law degree) as well.


What would you say was the single biggest event in your life that set you onto the path you’re on today?

I was falsely accused of rape.


If somebody asked you for just one piece of advice on finding their own successful path, what would you tell them?

There’s no such thing as a “big break.” If you’re waiting for that big break to come, if you expect someone to discover you, you’re dead.

Life is a bunch of “little breaks.” Keep hustling every day for years and years. Then, like me, people will say, “Where did that guy come from? He’s an overnight success!” If only. I’m at best a 20 year overnight success.



And so ends my interview with Mr. Cernovich. Once more I’d like to thank him for taking the time to answer these questions!



"Between the Wall and the Fire"

“Between the Wall and the Fire”

Alfred Genesson has left a very kind review of Between the Wall and the Fire at his Injustice Gamer blog.

Cower not, fierce reader! We have before us today not a novel, but a collection of short stories, edited by Mr. Russell Newquist. Each story in here has it’s own crime against Social Justice, if not multiple. The stories are solid, and I’ll attempt to keep from too much spoiling the stories. These will be done along the mini review format I tried earlier.

This is a very solid anthology. Read and enjoy, fierce reader, for these tales have fires to warm the heart. Vascular muscle is tough, but full of iron. Seven of ten fell deeds.

Click through the link to read the whole thing.

An Interview With Mike Cernovich – Part 2

"Danger & Play" by Mike Cernovich

“Danger & Play” by Mike Cernovich

A few weeks ago, as I was finishing up my review of Gorilla Mindset, I reached out to Mike Cernovich for a blog interview. He graciously agreed.

Mr. Cernovich is the author of the aforementioned Gorilla Mindset as well as Danger and Play: Essays on Embracing Masculinity and Juice Power!: How to Juice for Healing, Fat Loss, and Lifelong Health. He’s also the producer of the upcoming documentary Silenced! about the decline of free speech in the modern west. Yesterday’s Part 1 focused on his bestselling book, Gorilla Mindset. Today’s Part 2 focuses on writing, publishing, and business. Finally, Tomorrow’s Part 3 will focus on Mr. Cernovich himself and his upcoming projects. As always, this interview is presented unedited exactly as he gave it to me.



What made you decide to get serious about writing?

I also wrote out of passion, but to make a living doing this, I had no choice other than to get serious.


How long did it take you to write your first book?

Since Gorilla Mindset was my life’s work and was published last year, 37 years sounds about right. Sitting down to write took between 6 and 18 months.


How much time do you spend writing every day?

2-4 hours.


Do you enjoy the writing process or is it a slog?

I love writing blogs and Twitter posts. I do not enjoy writing books. The process of writing, re-writing, editing, formatting, etc. bores me.


You’ve been picked as an ?editor at large? for Castalia House. Have they published any books you’ve picked yet?

The people I want to write have less confidence in themselves than they should.

“The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.” – Bertrand Russell

But there’s no hurry. Life is a long game.


Can you talk about anything forthcoming that you’re looking at for them?

We need a solid book on nationalism, as there isn’t an fair treatment of nationalism in America. RamZPaul is the man to write this book, but he’s never written a book. I’d like to sit down with him and get him writing. I’d also like to get a book by Steve Sailer or John Derbyshire out.


You’re working on an upcoming documentary film. How did that come about?

To change culture, you must make movies. Must. It’s not optional. As much impact as I have on social media and through my writing, you can’t compete with films. Full stop.

I knew I had to do a film on free speech, but had no idea how to make that happen. I met a film director through Milo Yiannopoulos and decided to take the risk.

I agreed to fully fund Silenced ( myself. It certainly caused me some anxiety to agree to outlay that kind of money without any guarantee that I’d get it back.

With book writing, I’m a profit-making machine. With films, who knows?

I had to apply my own Gorilla Mindset methods to calm myself down.

I ran a Kickstarter, which raised nearly $80,000 from 1,000 people (some donations came in after the Kickstarter had ended).

Working on a film while finishing a book and growing a massive social media profile while exposing hoaxes and breaking news has worn me out and it’s time to relax.

No one ever said changing the culture would be easy!


Care to tell us a bit about the film itself?

Who is censoring us? When you write something (or don’t write something) is it because the government might kick down your door? In the West, that isn’t a problem. The issue is that we are censoring each other.

Silenced looks at what free speech means to people from all walks of life. We talk to Milo Yiannopoulos, Anthony Cumia, Alan Dershowitz, Dave Rubin, Scott Adams, and many others from all walks of life.


Got any ideas what’s coming down the pipeline after Silenced?

Truthfully I may take some serious time offline. I have been “on” for about three years straight now and am really starting to feel it.

Some say Andrew Breitbart was killed by Twitter, and I am starting to understand that.

Even when living your passion, it’s important to take some down time.

I also have a child on the way. Don’t be surprised if I go quiet for a few months around November.

[Congratulations, Mike!]



Thus ends Part 2. Come back tomorrow for the exciting conclusion as we talk about Mr. Cernovich himself.


Madison Martial Arts and Spirit Made Steel Karate are Merging


In January, 1995, I stepped into a small martial arts class at the Madison Rec Center. Sixteen years old and armed with my first real paycheck, I had no idea how much Sensei Kevin Swanner was about to change my life. Over the next twelve years I followed Sensei Swanner and Spirit Made Steel Karate through five moves and multiple knee injuries for both myself and Sensei Swanner! Eventually I became an instructor myself as his program grew.

In 2007, my wife Morgon and I moved to Georgia where I first began teaching on my own. After I moved back home and finished my master’s degree, I continued that by opening Madison Martial Arts Academy.

Today life has come full circle and again I’m “going home.” After running his own dojo for thirty years, Sensei Swanner is retiring from most day-to-day teaching responsibilities. As he continues the next leg on his journey through the martial arts, he has asked me to step in and help his program continue.

In the coming weeks, Madison Martial Arts Academy and Spirit Made Steel Karate will merge into one program and one location. We will be occupying the current Spirit Made Steel location at 1604 Slaughter Rd, Madison, AL 35758.

The new, combined school will allow us to provide a better program to our students in every way. We will have better and larger facilities, more equipment, additional instructors and new friends to train with.
Classes will move to the new location beginning on Monday, August 1st. In addition to the move, there will be some schedule changes. Please see the new schedule below.

Thank you all for joining us on this great adventure!

– Sensei Russell Newquist



Cross posted to the Madison Martial Arts Academy blog.