Bug-Out Survival

The latest posts from Bug-Out Survival

I'm reposting this update from my main site, www.scottbwilliams.com for those of you who only check in here.  As many of you know, The Prepper's Workbook has now been shipping from Amazon for about two weeks, and is even available on the shelf in many Barnes & Noble locations.  Some of you most likely had your pre-ordered copies before I even saw a copy, though my author's copies finally arrived at the end of last week:

For those of you who have requested a review copy or are among the ten lucky winners of the Goodreads book giveaway for this book, please be assured that you will be getting your copy from the publisher as soon as they get the shipment they are awaiting.  The way the book distribution system works, shipments often go out from the printer directly to the booksellers before even the publishers or the authors get theirs.  The book industry is changing so fast anyway that every time I have a new book released it seems there is a surprise of one kind or another.

For those who have been patiently waiting for this book for so long, my coauthor Scott Finazzo and I again want to thank you for your continued interest despite the delays and setbacks.  We have gotten word from our editor at Ulysses Press that sales of this book have been fantastic, no doubt due to the continued interest so many people have in doing all they can to be prepared for the unexpected.  We hope you will find it useful in your own preps once you get your hands on a copy, and that you will use it as intended, as a workbook to be written in, marked-up and customized to your needs.
Author: Scott B. Williams
Posted: April 2, 2014, 2:12 pm
My coauthor of The Prepper's Workbook, Scott Finazzo, discussed our book on Kansas City's KCTV5 News earlier this week.   Finazzo is firefighter with the Overland Park Fire Department in that area, and his extensive experience as a first responder to disasters and emergencies brings another dimension to this book. Here is the interview:


Because of the interview, Finazzo got his hands on the first hard copy of the book to ship from the printer.  We are hoping these will start shipping any time now.
Author: Scott B. Williams
Posted: March 6, 2014, 10:33 pm
My publisher is sponsoring a book giveaway of 10 copies of The Prepper's Workbook on Goodreads.  You can enter to win one right here.  The giveaway ends March 18.

The publisher should have copies of the book in their offices around the first of March.  I will announce other opportunities for free copies this book here on Bug Out Survival once I have copies in hand.  Those of you who have survival or prepping related blogs and would like a review copy should email me directly with your address information.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Prepper's Workbook by Scott B. Williams

The Prepper's Workbook

by Scott B. Williams

Giveaway ends March 18, 2014.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win
Author: Scott B. Williams
Posted: February 17, 2014, 2:19 pm
My friend and fellow Ulysses Press author, Jim Cobb, best known for his excellent site: Survival Weekly and his bestselling Prepper's Home Defense has written the foreword to The Prepper's Workbook.  I'm posting it here to give you a little better idea of the intent and purpose of this book and how it should be used:

I first became acquainted with Scott Williams by reading Bug Out: The Complete Plan for Escaping a Catastrophic Disaster Before It’s Too Late. This was the first of his books I’d read and to say I was impressed is a dramatic understatement. Here was a guy who’d truly been there and done that. Not only did he have practical experience, he was able to communicate his knowledge effectively. His writing style was easy to follow and a pleasure to the eyes and mind.

Time and again in subsequent books, Scott has shown he is no armchair prepper. His knowledge and skills have been hard-won by doing rather than just reading a few books and regurgitating the same information someone else came up with and never tested in the real world.

I’d hazard a guess and say that well over 90 percent of preppers are list makers. We make lists of bug-out bag contents, food pantry supplies (both what we have on hand and what we need to acquire), wish lists of the gear we’d love to buy once we get that bonus from work, to-do lists for chores and projects. The list of lists goes on and on, doesn’t it?

That said, many preppers, even the ones who have been around a while, are probably missing a thing or two (or more) on those lists. Maybe they forgot about them, maybe they never heard of them before. No matter the case, more than one prepper has agonized over whether they’ve accounted for everything. When the balloon goes up, or the grid goes down, is the worst possible time to realize you forgot something.

The beauty of The Prepper’s Workbook is they’ve done the remembering for you. With easy-to-understand forms and checklists, all you need to do is fill in the blanks. Granted, that might be oversimplifying things just a tad as prepping in general involves (or should involve) a lot more doing than reading. The point is, follow the proverbial bouncing ball and, by the end, you should be fairly well set should disaster strike.

I know many preppers who are avid readers and they often lament a creased cover or a dog-eared page as they want to keep the books looking as nice as they can. This book, however, is made to be beaten up, written in, marked up with highlighters. If at the end of the day it looks like a five-year-old college textbook, with all sorts of notes in the margins, then you’ve used the book correctly.

Every prepper has a different plan for what to do in a crisis and how to go about getting things done. That’s as it should be as we each face unique circumstances and challenges. There is no one single game plan that will work for everyone. That is where The Prepper’s Workbook will really help, as it allows for customization to suit your individual needs, strengths and weaknesses. By following the instructions and filling out the forms, you will be able to create a survival plan that is unique and perfectly suited for you and your family.

Fill out the worksheets, run through the checklists, complete the projects. Take your time and do everything the way it should be done—no cheating! Be honest with yourself and recognize where your plan is lacking, then work toward improving on that weakness.

Even if the worst never comes to pass and you never have the opportunity to truly put your plans to the test, you’ll rest easier at night knowing that if the world begins to fall apart in the morning, you’re ready for it.

—Jim Cobb
Author of
Prepper’s Home Defense and
The Prepper’s Complete Book of Disaster Readiness 
Author: Scott B. Williams
Posted: January 24, 2014, 9:45 pm
I've been working with my editor and coauthor Scott Finazzo this week on the final proofing and approval of The Prepper's Workbook, and everything has now been finalized, from the interior design to the front and back covers.  It will be sent to the printer next so those of you who have been patiently waiting for a copy should have one soon.  There were some more changes made to the front cover since my last post here, so here is the final version as well as the back.



The list price printed on the back doesn't mean much, as almost all online retailers and especially Amazon sell for a significant discount off retail.  Right now it's listed for pre-order on Amazon for $11.03 but that price fluctuates for all kinds of reasons only Amazon knows and it may be less when it's actually in stock and ready to ship.  I really hope that will happen sometime in late February, even though it's listed there as available March 18.  All I know for certain is that at this point, our work is done so the rest depends on the shipping and distribution times.

Once copies are in my hands and in the publisher's offices we will have some book giveaways, and as always, review copies will be available for those who have related websites and blogs.
Author: Scott B. Williams
Posted: January 24, 2014, 8:17 pm
I just posted this update on my main website, www.scottbwilliams.com and I'm reposting here for Bug Out Survival readers who may not see it on that site.  I know many of you have been waiting on this book for a long time, and I apologize for the delay in updating here, but I wanted to wait until I knew for sure when this would be available.  Scott Finazzo and I have been working closely with our Ulysses Press editor to develop this project into the most useful book it could be.  Changes midstream have delayed finalizing it, but now it is all done and is off to production with a new cover design to go with all the new content.

The updated cover design for The Prepper's Workbook:

Along with the new cover shown above, the final revisions and most of the interior design work is now complete on the new and updated version of the The Prepper's Workbook, co-authored with Scott Finazzo.  It is now in the production stage and though the new release date listed on Amazon is March 18, my editor says that it should be available to ship by mid-February.  I know that a lot of readers have pre-ordered the book since it was first listed on various online sites last year, and I know it is frustrating to wait so long, but the final version of this book will be much more useful than what I had originally envisioned.  Rather than a book of mostly checklists, The Prepper's Workbook is a complete interactive planning tool to help you prepare your home and family for any disaster, whether of natural causes or manmade.  You don't have to have any background in preparedness to use this book, and the focus is on the ordinary family who wants stay safe and be self-sufficient in a short or long-term disaster.  In other words, you don't have to be expecting the collapse of civilization to benefit from this book.

A lot of the focus is on accessing what you currently have and do not have that you might need in the aftermath of a disaster, and the worksheets and activities will help you acquire, organize and store these items.  You will learn how to prepare your home for sheltering in place and how to plan an evacuation, as well as how to determine whether it is best to stay or go.  There are sections on specific types of disasters and how to plan for them, as well as sections on first aid, home and personal defense, and the most important survival skills you need to acquire and master.   Along with all the information we provide in the book, there are just as many fill-in-the-blank pages and worksheets that will require you to put the "work" in the workbook.  When you are finished with these tasks, you will have a unique and perfectly-tailored reference book with all your critical preparedness information compiled in one readily-accesible and handy location. This, we hope, is what will make this book so uniquely useful among a flood of books covering the topics of disaster survival and preparedness.
Author: Scott B. Williams
Posted: December 16, 2013, 3:19 pm
Thanks to all who participated in this latest book giveaway for a chance to win a free copy of The Darkness After.  

I received some excellent submissions from those who participated by sending in their personal list of what they consider the Top Ten Essential Skills that any prepper/survivalist should possess or attempt to master.

As you would expect, there was a lot of overlap in these lists, as most of us can agree on at least five of the top ten essential skills, especially: finding and purifying water, fire making, shelter making, navigation and food gathering (including foraging, fishing and hunting).  Other commonly mentioned skills included the use of firearms for hunting and personal defense, knowledge of first aid, use of camouflage and stealth and hand to hand combat skills.

One of the lists submitted had an interesting and probably overlooked skill set that most people should pay more attention to: mechanical skill to maintain gear, firearms and mode of travel.  People who like to work on things as a hobby or have jobs that require mechanical skills may be all set in this department, but in today's society, fewer people do their own repairs or use their hands at work.  If you are among them, you can begin by doing small, routine maintenance jobs on your home, vehicle and other items.  As you gain proficiency in this, your confidence in your ability to keep everything you need going after the SHTF will be much greater.

As stated in the last post announcing the book giveaway, the five winners were chosen at random by a drawing, not based on the quality or content of their Top Ten List.  To those who didn't win, I still appreciate your participation and contribution.  As Scott Finazzo and I put the finishing touches on The Prepper's Workbook, these lists will be taken into consideration as we complete the final section of the book, and you may see one of your ideas published there.

So, here are the five winners of a copy of The Darkness After:

J.  Miller of Chesapeake, VA
J.  Guerra, of McAllen, TX
H. Coulter, of Prentiss, MS
T.  Cleveland, of Savanna, GA
D. Baldwin, of Ft. Collins, CO

The winners have also been notified by email and the books will be sent out today.
Author: Scott B. Williams
Posted: August 16, 2013, 10:00 am
My latest novel, The Darkness After is now available and shipping in both the print and Kindle versions on Amazon, and most everywhere else books are sold.  I've been getting some great feedback from those who have read it, and I think if you enjoyed The Pulse, you will like this one too.  The action is a little more fast-paced, and it is also a somewhat shorter story and therefore a pretty quick read.  Another difference is that most of the action takes place on the road or in the woods, and there is no sailing or international travel involved in this one - just two young people with different but very strong motives to get to their destinations.

If you'd like a chance to win a free copy so you can check it out, I want to announce two book giveaways: one here on Bug Out Survival and the other on the Goodreads website.

My coauthor, Scott Finazzo, and I are putting the finishing touches on The Prepper's Workbook, and the book giveaway I'm doing here relates to that project.  In the final section of the workbook, we discuss The Top Ten Survival Skills Every Person Should Know.  

What do you think are the top ten most important survival skills and why?  Post your answers in the comments section below or send them to me directly by email to scott@scottbwilliams.com, making sure to include your mailing address, to enter the drawing on August 15 for five (5) signed copies of The Darkness After.  Who knows, maybe you'll submit something we haven't thought of and see your suggestion printed in The Prepper's Workbook when it is published in September.  I'll announce the winners no later than Friday, August 16 right here on Bug Out Survival.

The other book giveaway for The Darkness After is hosted on Goodreads and all you have to do is sign up below for a chance to win one of ten (10) copies.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Darkness After by Scott B. Williams

The Darkness After

by Scott B. Williams

Giveaway ends August 31, 2013.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win
Author: Scott B. Williams
Posted: August 4, 2013, 6:51 pm
My lack of updates regarding the release of my next two books: The Darkness After and The Prepper's Workbook has been due to the fact that firm release dates have not been set and I've been waiting on the final word from my publisher.

Some changes have been made to the format of The Prepper's Workbook and it will hopefully still be ready for release in September after a final reorganization of the material.  The improved format of this book that my coauthor and I have been working on will make it a much more useful addition to any prepper's library and hopefully it will be worth the wait for those of you who have already preordered.

The Darkness After was completed early in May and all final revisions and proofreading done a few weeks ago.  I'm still awaiting word as to when it will be sent to the printer, and have heard that it should be any day now.  The publisher did change the publication date on Amazon from mid-June to early August, but I've been assured that it will likely be available before then, probably in early July.  I will post an update here as soon as I know for sure.

Meanwhile, here's a little more about the book.  Some readers may recall that I have said I'm working on a sequel to The Pulse, and there will certainly be a sequel.  The Darkness After is not that sequel, however, but rather a parallel story with different characters facing the consequences of the same event.

The action takes place in the same general region as the final part of The Pulse, specifically New Orleans and south Mississippi.  As I've mentioned before, part of what inspired the idea for The Pulse is what I witnessed personally in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in this region.  With the grid down for just a few weeks in the New Orleans area and much of south Mississippi and south Louisiana, the chaos was bad enough.  These books explore the possibilities of how bad it might get if the power was off for months, or even longer.

The two main characters in this story are a bit younger than even the college students, Casey and Jessica, in The Pulse.  But despite this, 16-year-old Mitch Henley and 18-year-old April Gibbs both have unique backgrounds and strong motivations to get where they're going that give them the edge in a lawless world of anarchy and violence.

The son of a Mississippi game warden in one of the most heavily-wooded counties of the state, Mitch is a natural-born hunter and woodsman and a master of the longbow, his favorite hunting weapon.  And on her own since the age of 17, April has unexpected skills learned from her own father that will serve her well in her desperate quest to reach the one person who matters most in her life.  Here's the official book description from the Amazon listing:

The thrilling story of teenagers struggling for survival as the modern world collapses around them

Massive solar flares bombard the Earth. An intense electromagnetic pulse undermines America’s power grid, wreaking havoc. Panic and chaos ensue in cities like New Orleans, where 16-year-old Mitch Henley was stranded after driving his parents to the airport. The son of a game warden in a rural Mississippi county, Mitch is an expert hunter and woodsman and knows he can survive back on his family’s remote 600 acres. 

With no way to know if his parents’ plane landed safely or crashed because of the pulse, Mitch sets out alone to walk home. But what Mitch hadn’t counted on was meeting April: a determined young woman who has an even more compelling reason to make it to her destination. Thrust into adulthood at an early age, April is a fighter who won’t back down, and when the two of them pair up to face the dangers ahead, they endure and overcome one setback and disappointment after another.

Set in the same anarchy-and-desperation-reigned world of the author’s dystopian thriller: THE PULSE, THE DARKNESS AFTER is a frightening look at how fragile our technologically dependent lifestyle really is. 

So that's the latest and as much as I know regarding the release dates.   As soon as I get copies in hand of each new book, I will post a book giveaway here so reader's will have a chance to get a free, signed copy.  
Author: Scott B. Williams
Posted: June 14, 2013, 3:00 pm
I did an interview over the phone today about the many considerations of using a bicycle as a primary or  back-up bug-out vehicle and the discussion ranged from the whys and whens of using a bike vs. various motor vehicles to the specifics of how to choose the right bike for the job and how to equip it.  This interview will be available as a series of articles soon and I'll post links to them when they are up.

Those of you who have read my Bug Out Vehicles and Shelters know that I have a chapter devoted to bicycles in the book.  As a long-time cyclist who enjoys riding for fitness and exploring backroads and trails by bike, I am interested in many different types of bicycles, but if I could have only one, it would invariably be a touring-specific bike.  When asked in the interview today why I would choose such a bike when mountain bikes are usually the first kind that come to mind as bug out bikes, I explained that it is because bike touring has been constantly evolving and developing as adventurous riders take these machines literally to the ends of the earth.  Such bikes are designed to withstand abuse, carry heavy loads, negotiate rough roads and even some off road conditions and perhaps most importantly, be comfortable so that you can cover serious miles day after day.

The difference in these touring-specific bikes begins with the frame, usually built of rugged and forgiving Chrome-moly steel rather than aluminum or carbon used on more performance-oriented bikes.  The wheels are also stronger, built to carry heavy loads and to fit wider tires when conditions require them.  Touring bikes have a wide range of gears to handle long climbs while carrying heavy loads, and the frames are fitted with brazed-on eyelets for mounting sturdy racks to carry panniers and additional gear lashed on top.

While some touring bikes look much like road racing machines to the casual observer, these differences are apparent upon closer inspection.  Because of the popularity of long off-road trips, such as the Adventure Cycling Association's Great Divide Route, many bicycle manufacturers are building truly capable touring machines that have most of the desirable attributes of mountain bikes combined with the long-distance capability of road bikes.  It has been interesting to see what they have come up with.  For example, the Surly Long Haul Trucker is a proven road touring bike I mentioned in the book, but the newer Surly Troll has a lot to offer as a bug-out machine to those inclined towards mountain bikes but needing real traveling ability:

The orange paint job might not be the best choice for this service, but you can see that this is a bike that could do the job.  To give you an idea of it's potential, check out this site: While Out Riding.
Author: Scott B. Williams
Posted: March 16, 2013, 1:34 am
I've been holding off on posting the details of my forthcoming books due to some changes in the order of publication and the publication dates.  Before The Pulse was published last summer, I had worked out a contract with my publisher to do another non-fiction project under the title: The Prepper's Workbook.  I was also eager to get started on the sequel to The Pulse, as that novel was written with a larger story in mind and plans for at least one sequel from the beginning. 

Instead of giving me the go-ahead immediately on the sequel, however, my publisher suggested an entirely different novel set in the scenario of The Pulse - the same grid- collapse event caused by a solar flare - but with a different storyline and different characters.  Most of the characters in the new novel (which will also likely be followed with one or more sequels) are young adults or teenagers, so the book is targeted to both young adult and adult readers.  The Darkness After will be an action-filled adventure story with a somewhat faster pace than The Pulse.  Here is the cover image:

 I am still in the middle of writing this one now, but have also worked out a contract with my publisher to do the sequel to The Pulse later this year, after the June publication of The Darkness After.  In addition, I will be completing The Prepper's Workbook later this spring, and the new publication date for it is set for sometime in September.  The other change regarding that book is that I will now be working on it with my friend and fellow-adventurer, Scott Finazzo.  The cover for the book should be updated soon to show both of us as coauthors.

Though I have not posted anything about the forthcoming Prepper's Workbook, I'm sure many of my readers have found the listing on Amazon, which still incorrectly shows the publication date as tomorrow, January 15.  I apologize for the confusion that may have caused, but I was expecting my publisher to change the book details to reflect the new publication date before now.  At any rate, if you have pre-ordered the book as many people do on Amazon, it will still be shipped as soon as it is released.  I will post more details on both of the projects soon:

Author: Scott B. Williams
Posted: January 15, 2013, 1:18 am
I'll be talking with John Wesley Smith on his Destiny Survival Radio show again tomorrow.  We'll spend an hour discussing a variety of topics, and especially how works of fiction can sometimes be more effective than nonfiction in opening the eyes of those who might not otherwise take an interest in prepping or survival topics.  I've had a lot of comments to this effect already since the release of The Pulse, especially among some of my own friends and family who could not really relate to books like Bug Out and may perceive interest in such topics as fanatical.  Reading a fictional story of an unfolding SHTF scenario sheds a whole new light on the matter though, and people can start to visualize how such an event could really happen.

You can join us tomorrow (Thursday, July 26) at 1:00pm CDT right here on the embedded player, or listen in later anytime you like after the show:

Listen to internet radio with Preparedness Radio on Blog Talk Radio

And here's a link to a newspaper review written by a friend with the perspective mentioned above - a seasoned outdoorsman and experienced adventurer, but not a person who considers himself to be a survivalist:  http://www.enterprise-journal.com/sports/outdoors/article_ad4130e0-ce3a-11e1-8f64-0019bb2963f4.html

For a review from the perspective of a prepper and survivalist, here's Jim Cobb's take on the book from his blog, Survival Weekly:  http://survivalweekly.com/2269/the-pulse-by-scott-b-williams/  Jim will soon be a fellow Ulysses Press author, with his own book: Prepper's Home Defense coming out in October.
Author: Scott B. Williams
Posted: July 25, 2012, 8:35 pm

It's always interesting to me to see the growing number of new articles about survival and SHTF concerns published on sites that are primarily focused on other pursuits.  But it's not really surprising to see this kind of thing on sailing websites and blogs, because people who are self-reliant and contrarian enough to make a lifestyle out of living aboard and cruising places on small sailboats tend to spend a lot of time thinking about these things anyway.  I first started meeting families and individuals living this lifestyle more than twenty years ago, on my kayak trip through the Caribbean.  Even back then many of them I talked to expressed the same kinds of concerns that are frequently discussed on survival sites today.  A big part of the reason most of them chose the independence of the cruising life is that they feel safer.  There's nothing quite as reassuring as having a well-found vessel under you, capable of taking you anywhere in the world as long as the wind still blows. 
One of my all-time favorite sailing bloggers posted a review of The Pulse last week and then went on to write more about the over-reliance on technology that most of us modern sailors have in common.  The fact is, while there may never be a catastrophic solar flare as strong as the one in my novel that takes out the grid throughout the hemisphere, any number of things, including deliberate action by the government, can render the man-made constellation of orbiting GPS satellites inoperable.
Then, on the other hand, maybe there will be a massive solar flare sometime in the near future.  The author of Boat Bits also sent me this yesterday:
In another example of a site normally devoted to recreational boating posting about a possible SHTF/TEOTWAWKI situation, this article on suitable boat designs for such an event recently appeared in Duckworks, an online magazine for amateur boatbuilders:
The author brings out some really good points to consider in choosing such a boat to build, and even mentions some of my favorite designers, such as James Wharram.  I plan to expand my thoughts on this one in another post soon, as bug out boats were a big part of my book, Bug Out Vehicles and Shelters, and of course, I'm currently building just such a boat myself.
Author: Scott B. Williams
Posted: July 4, 2012, 4:07 pm
If you've tried to order the paperback version of Bug Out: The Complete Plan for Escaping a Catastrophic Disaster Before It's Too Late from Amazon in the past few weeks, you might have noticed that it is not listed as "In Stock" as usual, but rather as "Ships in 11-13 Days".  Well, that 11-13 days has turned into longer, and I just found out from my publisher that the reason for this is that the book is backordered.  This is not something that normally would have happened, as it has been reprinted several times already when each print run sold out, but the good news is that the reason they ran out is that Barnes & Noble placed a large order that suddenly cleaned out the supply in the publisher's warehouse.

The reason that this is good news is that Barnes & Noble has finally gotten on board with how serious the topics of survival and prepping are, and the bookstore chain will now be stocking Bug Out and many related titles on their store shelves in most, if not all locations.  In fact, my publisher said they were going to have an end-cap dedicated to the subject in the next month or so.  This is an about face for this chain, as they were reluctant to stock many of these titles until their popularity increased.  I stopped by my nearest Barnes & Noble store the other day to check this out, and sure enough, there were copies of Bug Out, Getting Out Alive, and Bug Out Vehicles displayed prominently on the shelves, along with some excellent related titles by other authors.  Hopefully the backorders will be filled soon and Bug Out will soon be listed as "In Stock" on Amazon again.  I apologize to anyone who may have ordered the book without knowing this and is still waiting.

Author: Scott B. Williams
Posted: June 27, 2012, 8:09 pm
As promised in my last post, I wanted to follow-up with a bit more detail about The Pulse and why I wrote it.  My reading (aside from online) these days is usually divided about evenly between fiction and nonfiction, and eventually, I'd like to split my writing about the same way.  Over the years as I've worked on my various nonfiction books, I entertained the idea of writing novels but there always seemed to be another book project in the works that kept me from devoting much attention to it.  I still have nonfiction projects in progress, and over the next few months will be completing two new manuscripts that will go along with my survival books most of you are familiar with.  But over much of last year and the beginning of this one, I completed my first novel and now it is about to be released in a few days.  Here's a bit more about it and why I wrote it the way I did.  I posted this "From the Author" description on Amazon last night:

"My favorite adventure stories have always been those that cast ordinary people into extraordinary circumstances and predicaments their previous lives could not possibly prepare them for.  Although I sometimes enjoy reading works of fiction that involve larger than life characters with highly specialized training and superior fitness, skills and abilities, you won’t find any fearless heroes of that kind in The Pulse. 

After experiencing first hand the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and living in the impact zone where the power grid was destroyed and stayed down for weeks, I often wondered what it would be like if that situation were much more widespread and long-lasting.  If a solar flare or EMP attack took out electrical power and shut down most forms of communication and transportation in North America, the aftermath would be far worse than that of any hurricane and there would be no sudden influx of crews from neighboring states to work around the clock to rebuild the grid.  Grocery stores would soon be stripped bare and no delivery trucks would be running to replenish their stocks.  People would become desperate in short order, especially in large urban areas where the limited supplies available would be quickly consumed.  Far lesser events have shown that such desperation quickly strips away the thin veneer of civilization that keeps complex societies in order.  Violence would become rampant, and law enforcement agencies would be overwhelmed and unable to protect the citizens of their jurisdictions.  Those who would survive such chaos would have to act on their own and act quickly to seek safe refuge. 

In The Pulse I chose to focus not on the technical aspects of the solar event or the subsequent rebuilding and reorganizing of civilization in the aftermath, but rather on the immediate concerns of two groups of characters.  Casey Drager and her roommate, Jessica, are college students at Tulane University, in New Orleans.  Casey’s friend, Grant, an older graduate student who was living in the city after the devastation of Katrina, knows from experience that they have to get out and get out fast.  Casey’s father, who is especially close to his only daughter after the loss of her mother in a car accident years before, is away on a short sailing vacation in the Caribbean with his brother when the pulse strikes.  Among islands a thousand miles from the U.S. mainland and suddenly cut off from all communication with his daughter, Artie is desperate to find out if she is okay. Like any father in such a predicament, Artie Drager will do everything in his power to find his daughter, but with no transportation back to North America faster than his brother’s sailboat, he has no way of knowing if she will still be there when he finally reaches New Orleans.  Obstacles and dangers await both parties as they deal with their situations as best they can; and everyone involved has to quickly adapt to the new reality of a world without the safety net of technology and organized society."  

In addition to the above, I would like to add for my readers here that unlike some survival fiction books,  it was not my intention to write an instructional manual masquerading as a novel.  While you will recognize some of the actions of the characters as advice I've given here and in my nonfiction books, the people in the story are not survival experts and were certainly not planning for or even thinking about an event like this.  The college girls and their friend "bug out" of New Orleans, and do so on bicycles because that is the only reasonable means available to them, but they aren't doing so because they were prepared to or even familiar with the term.  Their older friend, Grant, does have fairly extensive camping experience and as an Anthropology graduate student, he has spent a summer doing a field study in a remote region of South American jungle, so he does have some skill and knowledge of living without the support of the grid.  In the other storyline, where the father is trying to get back to his daughter, you will see some of the advantages of travel by boat in a situation like this - something I've also talked about here and in the nonfiction books.  

Could a solar flare really occur that would have effects as devastating as those described in this story?  I don't know for sure, and scientists who study these things have differing opinions as well.  I think it's possible, and many believe that it is highly likely or even imminent.  I certainly hope not, because if something like this ever does happen, the aftermath will be truly horrible.  In the book, this solar event sets the story in motion and is of course, central to the plot, but I don't spend a lot of time detailing the science of it or the wider reaction around the affected areas.  I purposely keep my characters "in the dark" about the extent of it, and focus on how they will meet their immediate needs and get to where they want to be.  This is probably how it would be for most of us anyway if such an event occurred.  Without communication and rapid transportation, news would travel slow and wild speculation and guessing would prevail.  

I hope you will enjoy the story for what it is: essentially a father's quest to find his way back to his daughter, and a total immersion in to a harsh new reality for three young college students who end up in a labyrinth of rivers and swamps north of the city.  

The Pulse was originally scheduled to be released on July 10, but I did get word from the publisher that copies have shipped, and now it looks like Amazon will have the book in stock on June 25.  If you plan to buy it soon, ordering on the release day always helps make a book more visible on Amazon by causing a spike in sales rank.  You can check the book's page here or by clicking on the cover image at the top of this page to find out exactly when it will be in stock, as this is always subject to change.  If you do read the book, I look forward to your feedback, and if there is enough interest in the plight of these characters, the ending leaves a good opportunity to follow up with a sequel that I would like to write.  
Author: Scott B. Williams
Posted: June 22, 2012, 11:55 am
Most regular readers here know that I was working on a novel over the last few months since Bug Out Vehicles and Shelters was released.  Some of you may have already seen the book's Amazon page, but if not, here's a preview of the front and back covers.  I'll post more detailed information about this book here soon.  In the meantime, if you'd like a preview, the "Look Inside This Book" feature has been enabled on Amazon, so you can read the opening scenes and see if you'd like to read more.  The book should be available in print and Kindle form early next month.

From the back cover:


As massive solar flares bombard the Earth, an intense electromagnetic pulse instantly destroys the power grid throughout North America. Within hours, desperate citizens panic and anarchy descends. Surrounded by chaos, Casey Drager, a student at Tulane University, must save herself from the havoc in the streets of New Orleans. Casey and two of her friends bug out to the dangerous backwaters of Mississippi where they are forced to use their survival skills to seek refuge and fight for their lives.

Meanwhile, thousands of miles away, Casey’s father, Artie, finds himself cut off and stranded. His Caribbean sailing vacation has turned into every parent’s nightmare. Warding off pirates and tackling storms, Artie uses the stars to guide him toward his daughter.

The Pulse is a compelling action-adventure novel that reveals what it would take to survive in a world lit only by firelight, where all the rules have changed and each person must fend for himself.
Author: Scott B. Williams
Posted: June 7, 2012, 7:35 pm
I've been on the road for the past two weeks and I'm still away, but last week I had an interesting conversation with Ed Corcoran on his radio show. We mainly discussed bug-out vehicles but also touched on some other related topics and my forthcoming novel. Here's a link to the show, my interview is in the second hour: http://survivalandbeyond.net/interview-with-bug-out-author-scott-b-williams/
Author: Scott B. Williams
Posted: May 24, 2012, 2:43 pm
One of the all-time most popular posts here on Bug Out Survival is the piece I wrote back in 2010 on some of my ideas and modifications for fitting a Ruger 10/22 into a bug-out bag.  The reason is obvious: the Ruger 10/22 has long been a favorite in a semi-automatic carbine of this caliber, and because of it's great reliability record and aftermarket support, many people planning to carry a .22 long gun as part of their bug-out equipment would prefer to have this model over most choices out there.

The 10/22 is a compact carbine even in its standard configuration, and even more so with a 16-inch barrel, but until recently, if you wanted to conceal it completely inside the average backpack or bug-out bag, you needed to either fit a bulky and somewhat heavier aftermarket folding stock, or take the receiver out of the stock as I described in the above-mentioned post.  I've carried the 10/22 both ways on various wilderness trips.  Folding stocks such as the Butler Creek model I used completely change the balance and feel of the weapon, and add a lot of bulk inside the pack when folded.  Taking the standard rifle apart works, but does entail some risk of losing internal parts if you're not careful, and takes a lot more time than simply folding a stock.

The new take-down version of the 10/22 brings a whole new reason to choose this weapon, as you can now have one of the best semi-auto .22 carbines in existence with the packability of other take-down models such as the Marlin Papoose and Henry AR-7.

Here's a video introduction to this new 10/22 model that shows just how easily it can be taken apart and put back together:

For serious packing of a bug-out bag, I would certainly lose the bulky, fitted backpack it comes with, though this may be a handy way to carry it in other situations such as in a vehicle or boat.  I haven't picked up one of these yet, but for $300 I probably will and look forward to comparing it to my other 10/22 rifles.
Author: Scott B. Williams
Posted: May 14, 2012, 6:25 pm
I suppose since I write about bug vehicles and bug out locations, I could call a recent motorcycle trip to North Carolina and Tennessee work - or at least research.  But truth is that a short getaway trip to the mountains, camping off my KLR650 was really more of a great way to unwind after a few long weeks of  finishing up the revisions and final details of my latest book - the novel that will be released in July.

I've written about the Kawasaki KLR650 here before, and I'm sure many readers have either owned one or know somebody that does.  It's not a motorcycle that excels at any one thing, but rather one that does everything well enough.  For this trip, that meant everything from surviving the truck traffic on the interstate at 75 mph, to negotiating twisty pavement in the mountains, such as the infamous "Tail of the Dragon" stretch of North Carolina's Highway 129.  But most importantly, it meant the freedom to explore off-road on gravel forest service roads and beyond.

I went alone on this ride so I wouldn't have to do much scheduling or planning, and besides,  I needed time to myself anyway.  Mainly, I wanted to revisit some of my favorite areas in the regions, such as the Joyce-Kilmer and Citico Creek wilderness areas, where I've embarked upon many a solo backpacking trip in times past.  Hiking this time was limited, but with the KLR I was able to get to some nice, secluded campsite with the bike and all my gear, some of them places few four-wheeled vehicles could reach.

As anyone who's visited this area knows, the driving (and especially motorcycle riding) is spectacular.  Going in the off-season and during the week makes it easy to avoid the crowds.  One of the most scenic roads is the Cherohala Skyway, which runs through some of the wildest areas of the southern Appalachians, from  Tellico Plains, TN to Robbinsville, NC.

This is a view out into the Citico Creek Wilderness Area, which is described on p. 158 of my book: Bug Out: The Complete Plan for Escaping a Catastrophic Disaster Before It's Too Late.  A black bear encounter I had one dark night deep in the middle of this wilderness reminds me to choose campsites carefully and take all the precautions to keep a clean camp when in these mountains.  This a place where you can seriously disappear if you have a need to, especially if you don't mind bushwhacking into the rhododendron thickets in the deep ravines along the drainages.

But as nice as the paved mountain roads like the Cherohala Skyway are, the KLR really comes into its own and proves its worth on the endless miles of gravel forest service roads that lead off the beaten path.

Exploring them leads to all kinds of great places, like this fantastic stream.  One thing these mountains are not short of is water, so carrying a lot of it is not necessary as long as you have a means to purify it.

It's hard to leave a place like this and ride back home, but after this little escape I'm now planning a longer motorcycle trek out West to some of my favorite hang-outs there, like New Mexico's Gila National Forest.  I have no doubt that the trusty KLR will get me there and back.
Author: Scott B. Williams
Posted: April 13, 2012, 1:28 am
Thanks for all the interest in the Survival Medicine Handbook.  As I promised last week, I've put all the names of those who commented into the hat, and we have a winner:

And the winner is:  Kenny!  Kenny's comment is the 13th one down on last week's post.  I guess number 13 can bring good luck sometimes!  For all those who didn't win, keep an eye out for more giveaways, as I have lately been receiving a flood of books and other products to review and test.  And again, I think this book is a worthwhile addition to your survival library, whether or not can get it for free!
Author: Scott B. Williams
Posted: March 20, 2012, 12:22 am
Tomorrow, March 14, at 12:00 Noon EST,  I will be a guest on the EMPact Radio Show:

Empact America is dedicated to preparing, protecting and recovering from an EMP (Electromagnetic Pulse) event - a very real threat that could plunge our electricity-dependant civilization into total chaos.  This interview comes at a good time, when I have been thinking a lot about just such a scenario.  Last week I just finished the manuscript of my latest book: The Pulse: A Novel of Surviving the Collapse of the Grid, which will be published in July.  Here's the completed manuscript: all 109,415 words.

I'll be posting more about that book here on Bug Out Survival as soon as details like the cover are finalized.  It does involve a major grid-down scenario, putting the main characters in a variety of dangerous situations, requiring them to use many of the techniques and methods I've written about here on this site and in my previous non-fiction books.

If you have time to listen in on tomorrow's interview,  you can do so on the embedded player right here:

Listen to internet radio with Empact Radio on Blog Talk Radio
Author: Scott B. Williams
Posted: March 13, 2012, 2:42 pm
I have an extra signed copy of The Doom and Bloom Survival Medicine Handbook to give away to one lucky reader of Bug Out Survival.  This book currently goes for $31.49 on Amazon and is jam-packed with information that makes it well worth the price.  You may be familiar with the authors: Amy Alton and Dr. Joseph Alton, through their Dr. Bones and Nurse Amy's website and podcast.  They were kind enough to send me a review copy of their new book, as well as an extra copy for one of my readers:

This book is unique among practical medical handbooks in that it specifically addresses the issues of medical help when conventional means of help is not available, such as in a post-SHTF scenario.  Topics include all sorts of problems ranging from sanitation, hygiene and infections to environmental factors that can lead to heat stroke, hypothermia, burns, smoke inhalation and even snake bite and stings.  There are many additional resources in the back of this 440-page book, including a glossary of medical terminology and a list of YouTube Video Resources.

Look for a full review of the book here in the near future as soon I get caught up enough to read it in depth (As many of you know, I've been quite busy with my own latest book project).  In the meantime, if you'd like a chance at winning this signed copy of the Survival Medicine Handbook, just leave a comment on this post with a username and I'll put all the names in a hat and pick the winner one week from tonight.  It doesn't matter what you say in your comment, everyone gets an equal chance based on the luck of the draw.  Look for the winner to be announced here next Monday night, and good luck!
Author: Scott B. Williams
Posted: March 12, 2012, 11:43 pm
I have a lot of catching up to do here on Bug Out Survival later this month.  I've received several good books and interesting new products to review and will be posting about those soon.  The last few weeks have been consumed by a rush to complete my latest book project, which will be off to the editors on Monday.  But yesterday, I took an hour out of my writing schedule to enjoy another interesting interview with John Wesley Smith on his Destiny Survival Radio Show.  John wrote about the interview today on his Destiny Survival blog, in this post: What Will You Do About a Bug-Out Shelter?  We discussed some of the points I brought in in Bug Out Vehicles and Shelters regarding mobile and fixed retreats, as well as choosing bug-out locations and other tips on advance planning.

Here's the full interview if you want to listen.  Unfortunately, like last time I was on the show, there was a minor glitch with Blog Talk Radio, so the start of the show was delayed.  It does play though, if you bear with it through a couple minutes of silence at the beginning.

Listen to internet radio with Preparedness Radio on Blog Talk Radio
Author: Scott B. Williams
Posted: March 2, 2012, 7:36 pm
Survival fitness is something I've talked about here a few times before, and I think it's important to bring it up again now and then to reiterate the importance of staying in shape to increase your odds of making it through a dangerous or stressful situation.

There are many ways to accomplish the goal of staying physically ready for events that may test your endurance or strength, the most common of course, being gym workouts with weights or machines, as well as cardio-intensive training such as running, cycling or walking.  Excuses for not using these methods are as plentiful as huge array of workout equipment you can find for sale at any sporting goods store, and range from time restraints to cost considerations.

There used to be a time when most people did enough physical work that none of this was necessary anyway, but unless you're in the really small percentage of those today who earn their living doing something like brick-laying or chopping wood with an axe, chances are you need to work out to stay in shape.  What if you could take a simple tool like a sledgehammer and use it to work practically your entire body without the need to buy dumbbells, barbells or a Bowflex or some other kind of machine?

This isn't the kind of iron-pumping workout designed to build muscles like Arnold Schwarzenegger, but if you want to increase your functional strength and stamina, as well as speed and power that could make the difference in a fight or flight survival scenario, pick up a 16lb. sledge or even an 8 or 10-pounder and try these 23 exercises:"

I've done this routine a few times since discovering this video on YouTube and I can tell you that it is a great workout that will leave you feeling like you've done something when you're finished.  You can determine the intensity by the speed with which you execute each movement as well as by choking up or down on the handle of the hammer.  You don't need much weight to get the effectiveness, and in that regard it's much like working out with kettlebells; more about the technique than the weight.  If you want to try it, I would recommend first following along with the video using an unweighted stick or axe handle to learn the proper form.  Then start with a real sledgehammer.  He's using a 16-pounder in the video, but unless you're in great shape already, you'll probably find that's too heavy to swing with good form, speed and power.  The difference in this and merely lifting weight is that you have to overcome the inertia of all that weight swinging at speed to stop each stroke in the air with control, as he is demonstrating in the video.

You don't need a lot of time to do this entire routine, maybe one minute for each exercise, but if that's not enough you can use it for circuit training and go through the whole thing again when you're done:  two, three or even four times if you're able.

Almost everyone has a sledgehammer somewhere in the toolshed, and if you don't you can go out and pick one up for $20 to $30 at any building supply or hardware store.  It's a cheap piece of equipment compared to stuff designed specifically for exercise, and you'll probably find plenty of other uses for it as well.
Author: Scott B. Williams
Posted: February 21, 2012, 10:56 pm
Here's something a little different that I thought I would pass on after reading about it on numerous boating blogs and forums I frequent.  It makes you wonder what's going to be taxed out of existence next when a state department of revenue goes after a man who simply wanted to build a boat to take his son fishing.

One thing that all preppers and people with an interest in survival have in common is the desire to be self-sufficient.  The ability to do-it-yourself and make things from scratch can go a long way towards freeing you from dependance upon expensive manufactured versions of the same things, which in many cases are  inferior to what you could make yourself.

As long-time readers here probably know, I'm a big fan of travel by boat, whether on remote wilderness rivers, through southern swamps, or along the coast or open ocean.  As a result of my interest in a variety of small craft, as well as a life-long interest in woodworking, I began building my own boats some 18 years ago, and have since built more than a dozen vessels, ranging from sea kayaks and canoes to fishing boats and offshore sailboats.  Most of my wilderness and sea journeys by boat would not have been possible if I had to buy the factory versions of these boats I built myself - mainly because I could have never afforded them.  But aside from the cost, there is an indescribable satisfaction to be had from turning a pile of wood and some epoxy and fiberglass into a beautiful and functional watercraft and then paddling or sailing it to some wild place.

While you can save a lot of money doing it yourself, building a boat is still far from free, especially if you care enough about how it looks and how long it will last to use quality materials.  And there's also no getting around the fact that it's a lot of hard work.  The same can be said about anything worth building or doing right.  You need some basic tools, as well as the ability to use them, and unless you have a talent for design, a set of plans drawn by someone who does.  Thousands of boats are built this way in garages and backyards every year all over America, and one would think that the right to do so would be unquestioned and unchallenged.  That's exactly what a Murpheesboro, Tennessee man named Jonathan King thought when he purchased plans and built a simple, low-cost 14-foot wooden boat so he could take his seven-year-old son fishing.

Tennessee, like most states, requires boats that are fitted with engines or sails for propulsion to be registered with the state in which it is operated.  This involves a small annual or semi-annual fee that is not unreasonable, but if you build your own boat from scratch, you first have to get it inspected so that a HIN (hull identification number) can be issued.  This number is required in order to apply for the registration number.  Like the registration, getting this number is not that big of a deal in my experience here in Mississippi, and having it does help prove ownership if the boat is stolen, so while it's a minor aggravation, most home boatbuilders don't complain.

But apparently that's no longer enough in Tennessee.  Given the current economy, many states are looking for additional revenue anywhere they can find it, and Tennessee has hired outside consultants to make sure they don't miss any opportunity to tax citizens for things they may have overlooked.  This is where Jonathan King ran into trouble.  After applying for the HIN for his homebuilt boat, which he never intended to sell and built solely for his own use, he was threatened with court action if he did not pay a $539.00 "use tax" on the boat, as he was now considered by the state to be a "boat dealer."  Never mind that he had already paid sales taxes on the plans that he purchased, as well as on all the plywood and materials used in the construction.  This "use tax" he was now being hit with probably amounted to nearly as much as all the materials required to build a boat of this size.  Thinking this was a mistake, he called the auditor and was told that no, they knew he built if for his own use, but the tax was still due and the state could get liens on the craft or pursue misdemeanor charges against him if he didn't pay.  Here's the original story:


This has prompted lots of discussion among do-it-yourself boatbuilders, such as these threads on the Wooden Boat Forum:


Here's one that starts with a letter from the designer of the boat to the governor of Tennessee:


As he points out, this story is going viral on the Internet, as well it should.  Those of you who are not into boats may not think it matters, but it's just one example of increasing loss of freedoms and restriction on what you can and can't do on your own property.  As some have pointed out, if a "use tax" can be levied against a home boatbuilder, what's to stop them from taxing those who build their own picnic table or doghouse, make their own clothing or bake their own cookies?  Isn't the economy already hurting ordinary people bad enough without punishing them for trying to save some money by making things themselves?

Another thing many Americans may not realize, especially if they are not boaters, is that most European countries have incredibly strict laws regulating building and using boats.  For example, in the U.K., a person building a boat at home for their own use is not permitted to sell that vessel until five years after it is completed.  That means if you spend hundreds or thousands of dollars building your dream boat, and then either discover it was not your cup or tea or perhaps need the money because you lost your job - tough luck, you're stuck with it.  Other European laws strictly regulate the type and size of vessel that is permitted to go offshore, and require you to buy and equip your boat with all sorts of expensive safety equipment that does not necessarily apply to the type of craft you own.  For example, in some countries sea kayaks are not permitted to travel more than 1-mile from the shore, despite the fact that they are among the most seaworthy of vessels.  There are many people who would like to see such laws passed here as well, and if this "use tax" issue is not resolved in Tennessee, it looks like we're already headed that way.

Author: Scott B. Williams
Posted: February 13, 2012, 10:37 pm

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