Available on Kindle for free today here
This is book 1 in the Duty, Honor, Country Trilogy.
“A treat for military fiction readers.” Publishers Weekly
They swore oaths, both personal and professional. They were fighting for country, for a way of life and for family. Classmates carried more than rifles and sabers into battle. They had friendships, memories, children and wives. They had innocence lost, promises broken and glory found.
Duty, Honor, Country is history told both epic and personal so we can understand what happened, but more importantly feel the heart-wrenching clash of duty, honor, country and loyalty. And realize that sometimes, the people who changed history, weren’t recorded by it. In the vein of HBO’s Rome miniseries, two fictional characters, Rumble and Cord are standing at many of the major crossroads of our history.
Our story starts in 1840, in Benny Havens tavern, just outside post limits of the United States Military Academy. With William Tecumseh Sherman, Rumble, Cord, and Benny Havens’ daughter coming together in a crucible of honor and loyalty. And on post, in the West Point stables, where Ulysses S. Grant and a classmate are preparing to saddle the Hell-Beast, a horse with which Grant would eventually set an academy record, and both make fateful decisions that will change the course of their lives and history.
We follow these men forward to the eve of the Mexican War, tracing their steps at West Point and ranging to a plantation at Natchez on the Mississippi, Major Lee at Arlington, and Charleson, SC. We travel aboard the USS Somers and the US Navy mutiny that led to the founding of the Naval Academy at Annapolis.
We end with Grant and company in New Orleans, preparing to sale to Mexico and war, and Kit Carson and Fremont at Pilot Peak in Utah during his great expedition west.
“Mayer has established himself as one of today’s better military writers. A
background in the Infantry, West Point and Special Operations gives him credibility and understanding from having been there and done that.” Airpower Journal
“In wartime, truth is so precious she must be attended by a bodyguard of lies.” Winston Churchill.
Who polices the world of covert operations? That was the idea from which this book sprung forth.
The Cellar: Bodyguard of Lies is the Daily Deal today on Kindle. It’s the first book in the Cellar series (Lost Girls is book 2) and then the Cellar series merges with the 2nd book of my Nightstalker series, The Book of Truths.
When Bodyguard of Lies first came out there was a lot of Hollywood interest in it, with one director believing it should be the next Mission Impossible movie. Alas, those of you who know Hollywood, know its amazing anything gets made.
My grand plan, 25 years in the making, of merging various series is coming to fruition. Hannah & Neeley from the Cellar are with Scout and Moms and the rest of the Nightstalkers. And early next year, the Nightstalker run into the Time Patrol which is dealing with the concepts from my Atlantis series and meet Amelia Earhart, Dane and the concepts of parallel worlds and time travel and a Big Bad that’s trying to screw with our time line.
Well, it sounds good to say that was the grand plan; actually it’s something I became aware of about a year or so ago. It occurred to me that since all these books came out of my warped mind, there had to be common links. And there are. I blogged about my four pillars of story back in January and these books all touch on those:
Write what you know (yep, done a lot of time travel). Actually the military angle is there.
Write what you want to know: myths and legends! I have valkyries and kraken and more in Atlantis and now in Nightstalkers. Oh my.
Write what interests you: History. Bodyguard of Lies is based on history.
Write what is your passion: The power of the mind is key. In Bodyguard, the mental manipulations, in essence almost gaslighting, that various characters employ are central to the plot.
So today, for only $1.99, the Kindle Daily Deal is Bodyguard of Lies!
As a Green Beret, I was focused on two main reasons for catastrophe planning and preparation. As a writer, I learned about a third, more subtle benefit of catastrophe planning, in order to have a successful career in a field where 99% of those entering eventually fail.
You Catastrophe Plan for 3 reasons:
- To avoid the catastrophe. Since at least one of the six cascade events is human error, if we plan and prepare adequately, we can delete the human error cascade event from the situation, thus avoiding the final event.
- To have a plan, equipment, training etc. in place in case the catastrophe strikes. If we project out possible final events, we can prepare for their eventuality. I am adamant that preparation is critical, even more so than actual actions during the final event. It is too late when we reach a final event to prepare for it. Even the best-trained individual will be overwhelmed by a final event if they have not prepared for it. In the last catastrophe we cover in this book, you’ll see how the fact someone planned for possible catastrophes helped avert a terrible final event.
- To give you peace of mind in day-to-day living so you don’t constantly have to worry about potential catastrophes because you are prepared for them. This allows you to experience a higher quality of life. You’ve done your best to avoid the catastrophe, making the likelihood that much less. And you’ve done your best to prepare for the catastrophe, so you can focus on other things. Too many people worry about potential catastrophes without preparing; this is a fundamental failure and fuels fear. Fear feeds on itself and is debilitating. Often, extreme fear can bring about an event that would have never occurred otherwise. Confident people are prepared people.
Why the book and title? I had to get your attention, just like engineers, soldiers, pilots, astronauts, passengers, policemen, firemen, etc. need to get someone’s attention just before a catastrophe occurs in order to either prevent the event or save lives. And engineers, systems analysts, workers, and managers have to get the attention of others in order to point out cascade events that, if unchecked, will lead to a catastrophe.
Consider the meaning of the phrase shit happens. Saying “shit happens” indicates events are random, have no meaning and there is no accountability or responsibility. It indicates such events could just as easily happen again and there’s nothing we can do about them.
This series, with the first book coming out 9 September, is about catastrophes and disasters and tragedies and how to avoid them, mitigate their effects and learn from them. As you will see studying seven significant events in each book, they didn’t just happen, and the people and organizations involved weren’t completely helpless victims. Taking the attitude shit happens is potentially fatal for the future. It ignores painful and tragic lessons from the past. If we’re going to make the deaths and suffering of victims to mean anything, we must learn from them.
The bottom line is we can predict and prevent many catastrophes because almost every one has a man made factor, a cascade event, involved. In other words, we have control over whether shit happens. But it means changing a complacent mindset, getting rid of delusional thinking, and viewing the world around us in a different way. Because shit doesn’t just happen.
Why write this book? Because I’ve made mistakes.
We all have. And some of us have made mistakes that contributed, either completely or in whatever percentage, to a no-do-over. This is an event where you can’t go back and change the result. There has been an irrevocable event. Often these involve death or permanent injury/wounding. You can’t undo those.
Soldiers understand this because the environment in which we operate is full of no-do-overs. I discuss why Special Forces are called Masters of Chaos in the book, but even as Masters, we only control what we control. The best-trained, best equipped, soldier in the world is still only one piece of the entire picture.
That’s the part we have to focus on; what we have control over. Our lives play out with many events and tragedies that are beyond our control, but in which we have some input, some effect. That’s what this book highlights, showing you catastrophes step by step, and how each step teaches us something.
There aren’t bad people in these catastrophes (mostly). They might have made some wrong decisions, but we all have, and the value we can place on them is to learn from them. Sometimes, many of the victims were innocent and not responsible, but we must focus on those who are responsible and in charge and made the key decisions. Or didn’t make a key decision.
I can look back and have to examine where my part was; where my human error, my lack of focus, my wrong thinking, poor decision-making and ignorance, entered into things. There are things I might not have been able to prevent, but if I don’t examine my role, I’ll never become better at what I do and a better person. And deep inside, I wonder what I could have prevented.
That is why this book exists.
Book One covers:
Titanic: Systematic Failure
Kegworth Plane Crash: The Danger of Deferring to Authority and Experts
Little Big Horn: Leadership Failure
New London Schoolhouse Explosion: Lack of Focus
The Donner Party: Social Disintegration
From Tulips to the Housing Bubble: Greed Overwhelms Reality
Apollo 13: Success Snatched from the Jaws of Catastrophe
Each week I’ll bring a new blog post with information from and about the book, along with lessons learned in my Survival Guide and Who Dares Wins.
Right now, the lineup for Book 2, due out 23 September, is: The Challenger Explosion; The Fall of the Czar; The Kursk Sinking; The BP Deepwater Horizon Explosion; the Sultana explosion; Pearl Harbor; the Andes Plane Crash
I’m also open to suggestions about catastrophes you’d like to see me cover in subsequent books.