indexRobert Rogers was a colonial farmer from New Hampshire who was recruited by the British in 1755 to serve in the French and Indian War.  Over the course of the following years he formed a unit of colonials called Rogers’ Rangers, the first Ranger unit.  Unlike the Redcoat British, they wore green uniforms and utilized unconventional tactics, many of which were written down as Rogers’ Ranging Rules, some of which are still used in the current US Army Ranger Handbook, called Standing Operating Procedures (SOPs). I’ll post on Rogers Rules of Rangering in a week or so.

The most significant engagement the Rangers fought was with the Abenaki Indians in Canada.  This tribe had been raiding the colonies and was credited with over five hundred kills, mostly of civilians, during the war.  A Ranger force of two hundred marched into Canada and destroyed the Abenaki village, a feat shown in the 1940 movie Northwest Passage starring Spencer Tracy.  This was a case of thinking outside of the normal parameters on Rogers’ part.  Conventional wisdom at the time dictated being on the defensive along the frontier.  Rogers realized that would be futile and leave the initiative in the hands of his enemies.  The frontier was simply too large to be adequately defended with the scant forces he had.

WDW_B&N copyHe decided that the only way to stop this scourge was to go to the source, which others told him was impossible as it was too far inside enemy territory.  He turned that thinking around, figuring that if the other side thought that too, it would increase his odds of success as no one would consider the raid a real possibility and be prepared to defend against it.  This open-mindedness is something is one of the seven character traits of the elite.  An elite individual is someone who finds new ways to tackle problems.  I discuss this in detail in Who Dares Wins Special Operations Strategies for Success.

The Rangers also fought in General Wolfe’s campaign against Quebec and the subsequent one against Montreal in 1760.  After the war, Rogers repeatedly petitioned the King to fund expeditions for the Rangers to explore from the Mississippi to the Pacific, almost fifty years before Lewis & Clark.  Think how history might have changed if he had done this (which gets my brain working on a possible mission for a future Time Patrol book).  Unfortunately, the King turned Rogers down and his persistence in trying to launch his own expeditions caused him to be arrested on charges of treason.  So much for loyalty from top to bottom, a key to effective leadership.  There are some who say the seeds of the Revolution were planted among the ranks of the Rangers because of this.  Despite their excellent service, the Rangers were treated with contempt by the British and in 1775 some of the men who fired upon the British at Lexington and Concord were former Rangers.

As part of this focus on Spec Ops, I’ve put together three discounted Special Ops bundles on Amazon:

Special Ops One: Green Berets Cut Out and Shadow Warriors: The Line

Special Ops Two: Green Berets: Chasing the Lost and The Jefferson Allegiance

Special Ops Three: Green Berets: Eternity Base and Shadow Warriors: Omega Sanction

Tomorrow I’ll post about Rogers Rules of Rangering, which we still use today!


It was a year that helped shape our present world:

Time Patrol: Ides of March.


Josiah_Henson_bw“I will conclude my narrative by simply recording my gratitude, heartfelt and inexpressible, to God, and to many of my fellow-men, for the vast improvement in my condition, both physical and mental; for the great degree of comfort with which I am surrounded; for the good I have been enabled to effect; for the light which has risen upon me; for the religious privileges I enjoy, and the religious hopes I am permitted to cherish; for the prospects opening to my children, so different from what they might have been; and, finally, for the cheering expectation of benefiting not only the present, but many future generations of my race.”

It is commonly accepted that Josiah Henson’s autobiography was the source for Harriett Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin. So much so that later in life, he changed the title to: Autobiography of Josiah Henson: An Inspiration for Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom.

While his first title indicates his thanks to God, the reality is that he was a remarkable man who fought against overwhelming odds, not only to free himself, but to help others.

His story was the most intriguing one among all my research for my last book, Ides of March. As usual, I was focused on something else, George Washington’s speech to his mutinous officers on the Ides of March 1783, and I came across Josiah Henson’s book. It drew me in so much, that it changed what I was writing. To tell you much more would be too much of a spoiler; regardless, I recommend reading Mr. Henson’s book to grasp a society we are not many generations removed from. And remember that people are not that much different, both good and bad. I fear too often when we look at history or other cultures, we think those people are somehow ‘different’ than we are. That what happened then or there is out of the realm of possibilities for us. Whether it be pre-Civil War America, the Roman Empire, Nazi Germany, or any era or place. Given the right circumstances, people can do extraordinary things, both good and bad. These lessons are a driving force that keep me writing Time Patrol books, trying to bring history to life and showing the ethical and moral issues that penetrate all aspects of it!

Write on the RiverProcess is something many of us never consciously focus on. Yet we all have one as artists. How we create a world, a story, out of just our imagination. How we translate that story through the sole medium of the printed word into a vivid story in the minds of readers.

I’m somewhere around manuscript number 70. That means I’ve written over five million published words. And a lot more that were never published. I learn from every book I write. It seems I learn more each year, which is kind of scary, given I’ve been making a living as a writer for a quarter century.

The last five or so years I’ve really focused on my creative process. Honing it. Learning from other writers and their process. Each of us has a unique one, but we share many traits.

My wife and I have run numerous Write on the River Workshops and while we have a formal description of the workshop, I think the key to it has been helping each writer who attends uncover their process. Bring it into consciousness where it can be molded from craft to art.

Process evolves; it isn’t static. As we learn more, we adapt. I’m a much more free-flowing writer now than I was just a year ago. A big reason for that is that I have more trust in my process.

Process is psychological. Each of us focuses on different things: character, setting, voice, pace, tone, plot. Each of us ‘researches’ differently. Often we’re unaware of what we’re doing. I’ve found that the more aware we become, the better writer we become.

My wife has worked with many authors, including #1 NY Times Bestsellers. I’ve taught thousands over the years. Between us we bring to different types of processes to our teaching, which makes for a very unique experience.

IMG_2479We’ve had 100% positive feedback from participants. Of course, some of that could be the champagne. But even after that wears off, we hear from participants for years. In fact, we ended up starting a Retreat for Workshop graduates who just want to come back and hang out for a weekend and write and chat.

Or maybe they just want to see Cool Gus and Sassy Becca.

If you’d like more information: Write on the River. We’re currently scheduling our next couple of workshops and each is limited to four slots. If you have any questions feel free to drop us a line at

Time Patrol: Ides of March

15 March 2016

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