Constant Fear – One Novel’s Mixed Messages About Prepping

I read Constant Fear, an adventure novel by Daniel Palmer, published in 2015. A member of a writers’ group I belong to thought I might enjoy the story because a main character is a prepper.

I debated about whether to share these thoughts with you, but I decided what follows might be of some interest. While it’s noteworthy that prepping takes a prominent place in this novel not specifically intended for preppers, Palmer sends a mixed message about prepping. It seems to me he wants to capitalize on a trend. But is he reflecting society’s ambivalence about it?

Jake Dent is a single father raising a 16-year-old son, Andy. In earlier years Jake had been a professional baseball player, but a drunk driving accident put and end to that. Andy was diagnosed with diabetes as a toddler. That was too much for Jake’s wife, Laura, and she left.

After a period of depression, Jake turned to prepping, where he found empowerment. He became hard core–what I’d call a survivalist. It was common for him to do bug out drills with Andy at 3 AM.

Jake secretly built a well equipped bug out location in tunnels underneath the prestigious school Andy attended. He could do that because he was a custodian there, and his brother ran the academy.

Andy headed up a small club comprised of five other students who became hackers. They stole petty amounts of bitcoin from wealthy parents and gave the money to those they thought needed it more.

One of the kids got cocky and stole two hundred million dollars worth of bitcoin. Then someone stole part of those funds, leaving them with no way to retrieve it due to issues with encryption, keys and such.

Unbeknownst to the kids, that large sum belonged to a man with ties to a Mexican drug cartel. This got the attention of a band of blood thirsty thugs who stage a chemical spill which led to the evacuation of the prep school and the kidnapping of Andy and his hacker friends.

Spoiler alert. Jake puts his militaristic survival training into action and rescues the kids. But his bug out location goes up in flames.

What about that mixed message on prepping?

Earlier in the story Jake becomes romantically involved with policewoman Ellie Barnes. He’s too ashamed to tell her he’s a survivalist. She doesn’t find out until the FBI searches his trailer during the height of the hostage situation. It may not surprise you to know they think he’s a crazy terrorist who’s as much a danger to the kids as the Mexican mobsters.

Though disappointed upon the discovery of Jake’s hidden preoccupation, Ellie sticks by him, and things work out for them in the end.

At another early point in the story, Jake and Andy go to a prepper expo and sit in on a seminar on the topic of the threat from an EMP. Andy stands up and challenges the presenters claims and tells his dad he’s through with all this survivalist stuff.

Andy asks his dad to think about dismantling his fortified hideout spot. Jake doesn’t do it. But as noted above, subsequent events take care of that for him.

If you like fast action thrillers with intrigue and romance thrown in–and where the good guys win–Constant Fear may appeal to you. To me, too much was far fetched. It stretched the limits of my suspension of disbelief.

And then there’s that ambivalent attitude toward preparedness. Yes, Jake came out as the hero. But how that unfolded doesn’t strike me as the best way to entice readers to get prepared for the realities we face in the here and now.

What if there was a novel featuring a normal person or family preparing for a soon to be abnormal world? Would that be too boring?

Into the River Lands – What Will Survival Be Like Months After an EMP?

Imagine it’s seven months after a massive solar EMP has put an end to the world as we know it. You’re making a canoe trip upstream, searching for friends you believe can help you.

You’re starting to fix breakfast for your husband and infant daughter, who aren’t ready to greet the day yet. Suddenly, four armed men appear, and it doesn’t look like they’ve stopped by for coffee and a chat.

What would you do?

April finds herself in that situation in Scott B. Williams’ latest novel, Into the River Lands. At the risk of sounding cliche, it’s a page turner.

I talk with Scott about the book and more on this week’s DestinySurvival Radio.


Into the River Lands


Points About the Adventure

The events of the story pick up seven months after the massive solar EMP and that which took place in The Darkness After, the first book in this series. These stories occur in the same world as The Pulse novels, but the characters are different.

It can be difficult when reading a series to put the pieces of the story together from one book to the next when it’s been a while since reading the previous book. Scott does a good job of refreshing our memories by summarizing what came before. Therefore, be patient as you read further into the novel.

In this story, April, her husband David, and their infant daughter are searching for the home of April’s friend Mitch. They wanted to get away from the church group they were sheltering with in Hattiesburg, MS.

Things don’t go as planned. They’re waylayed by some bad guys who happen to be the same men Mitch is trailing in his endeavor to discover who wounded a doe in the woods.

Chapters aren’t long, but a number end in a cliff hanger, compelling you to read more. Events unfold slowly at first, but there’s no shortage of tension and suspense to keep you guessing what comes next.

This is simply a fun adventure story about survival. Nothing flashy. Nobody’s out to reform the world or fight the system. Even though the characters aren’t in the thick of anarchy, such as you’d find in an urban setting, there’s still plenty of danger to go around.

Scott’s knowledge of the geography he writes about makes the story more real. He has traveled the waterways and camped out in the part of Mississippi where events happen. We get a glimpse of what the area is like in the years since Hurricane Katrina plowed through.

You can share this book with your teenage children without worrying about sex scenes or a lot of profanity.

The story has a happy ending, considering the circumstances. Nonetheless, there are enough loose ends, you know there has to be more forthcoming. And there is. All we can do for the time being is anticipate.

Points to Ponder

Thoughts About a Good Story–No one can predict with certainty what the future holds. But a work of fiction can give us things to think about. As preppers we must be ready to think on things we may not have thought of. Or at least we must think in a different direction than we’re accustomed to.

As I see it, a good novel about survival doesn’t have to be a survival manual or technical how-to book. It should be a good story that raises awareness of possible threats and scenarios related to those threats.

It should also contain credible information which should prompt us to further research and reflection.

Scott drops little gems in this novel worth pondering.

Op Sec?–Mitch feels the need for heightened security when he realizes someone is near than he’s comfortable with when he finds the wounded deer.

At that point he also reflects on the quality of his bow and arrows compared to that of the unknown archer who shot the doe.

Freedom, but Not on Easy Street–While life after a catastrophe will have its share of stress, many of us may find that the new way of life offers more freedom than we would have expected.

Mitch revels in being free from school and its restrictions. You may feel the same way about no longer being tied to the everyday work grind.

Of course, life won’t be as easy as we might wish in our daydreams. In the novel, one of the characters is Jason, who has had to learn a new way of life far different from that of being a city kid immersed in his world of guitar playing and video games.

Lying to Live–On the morning April and her party are confronted by four unfriendly men, she thinks fast and lies about their situation. She hopes the men will leave them alone. But it doesn’t work.

This brings up the matter of when to lie, how to lie, and knowing when not to lie. It’s not about ethics in a situation like April’s. It’s a matter of life and death. Will we have wisdom for handling such dire scenarios?

A Matter of Trust–Later in the story, rescue comes in a surprising way for April when she was in a dangerous spot. But it raises the question of who one should trust and when.

Probing the Author

We spent some time talking about how Scott writes his stories. Our discussion centered around things that may be of interest to writers.

I like to get into an author’s head because it’s interesting knowing what’s behind the products of the imagination you and I like to indulge in. A writer must contemplate many ideas and find a way to make them come alive to you and me.

If you’re not familiar with Scott and his books, here’s a little info to fill the gaps.


Scott B. Williams has been writing about his adventures for more than twenty-five years. His published work includes dozens of magazine articles and twelve books, with more projects currently underway.

His interest in backpacking, sea kayaking and sailing small boats to remote places led him to pursue the wilderness survival skills that he has written about in his popular survival nonfiction books such as Bug Out: The Complete Plan for Escaping a Catastrophic Disaster Before It’s Too Late. He has also authored travel narratives such as On Island Time: Kayaking the Caribbean, an account of his two-year solo kayaking journey through the islands.

With the release of The Pulse (2012), Scott began writing fiction. The Pulse was followed by The Darkness After (2013) Refuge (2014) Sailing the Apocalypse (2015) and Into the River Lands (2015).

Scott has many more novels in the works. To learn more about his upcoming books or to contact Scott, visit his website:

Pointing You to Our Conversation

Hear my conversation with Scott B. Williams by listening to DestinySurvival Radio for October 15, 2015. (Right click to download.)

Order any of Scott’s books wherever you see their titles linked in this post. And be sure to check out Scott’s site and sign up for his newsletter to stay informed about future projects.


Refuge – Why Preppers Will Enjoy This Novel

Before I tell you about Refuge and why preppers will enjoy this novel, allow me to step back and look at what I see as the bigger picture concerning fiction for preppers and survivalists.


A Few Words About Prepper Fiction

You’re probably aware that there’s a growing number of prepper or survival related novels out there these days. Frankly, I can’t get too enthused about most of them. Maybe my opinion might change if I did read more of them, but here’s how I look at it.

I read plenty of science fiction and even some fantasy. (There’s quite a bit of crossover between the two these days._ So I’ve developed a certain amount of tolerance for the outlandish or weird. But not too much, if you please. I don’t mind having my disbelief suspended while I escape into a good story. But it had better be a good story indeed.

However, if I’m going to read a prepper novel that supposedly portrays a projected reality in the not too distant future, it shouldn’t be weird or outlandish. It shouldn’t be ridiculously complicated with a political or religious world that’s hard to comprehend. I don’t want to learn a whole new universe.

Characters should be believable to me. I have a hard time relating to military types or super survivalists. I want to read about people who aren’t so extraordinary.

I also don’t want to get bogged down in a lot of technical sidetracks. Granted, factual material makes the story credible, but I don’t want to be overloaded. After all, am I reading an entertaining story, or am I reading a survival manual? How credible is the technical stuff anyway? And how am I supposed to know for sure?

OK, so call me fussy. You may have a different outlook on prepper fiction, and you’re certainly entitled to your opinion. I’m simply telling you mine.


A Few Words About Scott B. Williams

One author who satisfies my standards for prepper fiction is Scott B. Williams. He was my guest on this week’s DestinySurvival Radio show to talk about his latest novel, Refuge: After the Collapse. Scott has been on my show several times before to talk about both his nonfiction and fiction writings. This past July, he was on with Coauthor Scott Finazzo to talk about The Prepper’s Workbook. The info about the author in Refuge says…

Scott B. Williams has been writing about his adventures for more than twenty-five years. His published work includes dozens of magazine articles and eleven books, with more projects currently underway. His interest in backpacking, sea kayaking and sailing small boats to remote places led him to pursue the wilderness survival skills that he has written about in his popular survival books such as Bug Out: The Complete Plan for Escaping a Catastrophic Disaster Before It’s Too Late, and Bug Out Vehicles and Shelters: Build and Outfit Your Life-Saving Escape. He has also authored travel narratives such as On Island Time, an account of his two-year solo sea kayaking journey through the Caribbean. With the release of The Pulse (2012) and The Darkness After (2013), Scott moved into writing fiction with plans for many more novels in the future.


A Few Words About Refuge

Refuge - After the Collapse


Refuge is the follow up to The Pulse. Both books tell of how a small group of ordinary people cope in the aftermath of a solar EMP. The Darkness After is also set in that same world, but has different characters and is aimed at a young adult audience.

In the first novel, The Pulse, Artie and Casey, his college age daughter in New Orleans, are hundreds of miles apart when the EMP hits. Somehow they get back together in spite of the odds. That’s where Refuge picks up. Casey’s friends Grant and Jessica need to meet up with Artie’s brother Larry. Along with them is Larry’s friend Scully. They plan to meet up with Larry down river and escape in his boat to a safer place than the wilderness of Mississippi and Louisiana.

Only things don’t go as they intended. Grant and Scully go to get supplies from a cabin Grant knows about, and they have trouble with unwelcome intruders. Artie and Casey discover Larry has had his own problem with unwelcome visitors. It soon becomes clear that, while the EMP has definitely created its own difficulties, the characters in Refuge, find their greatest threat comes from other people.

This isn’t a novel with nonstop action, but you’ll be surprised when and where the action does take place. There’s time to get comfortable with the characters and their setting between bursts of activity. Chapter breaks will leave you in suspense to hold your interest. That’s definitely the case with the first chapter, where the scene begins with Larry on his catamaran. Believe me, you’ll want to keep reading.

I believe Refuge does what Scott intends for the story to do. It makes you, the reader, think about ordinary people who face challenging situations in a post-disaster setting which is far different from normal life. It entertains without being either frothy or too heavy. If it’s been a while since you’ve read the first novel in this series, the story is written so that you’ll remember what happened then as events in this second book unfold.


A Few Words About Our Conversation

One of the topics we talked about was writing fiction versus nonfiction. While that may be of greater interest to writers, it gives you a glimpse into Scott’s approach to what you’ll be reading from him.

Scott and I don’t give much of the story away, so I encourage you to read it for yourself. We covered several points I’ve already touched on above, and we discussed some important things I don’t want you to miss. I hope our conversation will pique your interest in reading Refuge.

Hear that conversation by listening to DestinySurvival Radio for November 6, 2014 (Right click to download.) Click on any of the book titles you see linked above to get info and place your order for that book. Find more information about Scott and his current works in progress at Why not keep up to date by subscribing to his newsletter?

As always, if you have any thoughts on what you’ve read above or heard on this week’s DestinySurvival Radio, feel free to leave a comment below. How do you think you would cope in the aftermath of a giant EMP? Do you think we’ll face a greater challenge from disrupted technology or from other people?


The Prepper’s Blueprint Will Help You Map Out Your Prepping Strategy

Architects and builders depend on blueprints to do their jobs. The Prepper’s Blueprint will help you map out your prepping strategy. On this week’s DestinySurvival Radio, I spoke with its author, Tess Pennington.


The Blueprint’s Drafter

I knew about Tess because she’s been on DestinySurvival Radio before to talk about her first book, The Prepper’s Cookbook. I’d seen quotes from her and The Prepper’s Blueprint in recent months and thought it was time to have her back on the program to talk about it. She was kind enough to take some time out from visiting relatives in Texas so we could record this week’s conversation. Below is a little more about her.


Since 2007, Tess Pennington, founder of Ready Nutrition, has focused on educating the public on topics including disaster preparedness, natural living, homesteading, emergency food pantries, food storage and ultimately self-reliance. She is formally trained in emergency and disaster management response with the American Red Cross.


Tess is also the best-selling author of two preparedness books: The Prepper’s Blueprint: The Step-By-Step Guide To Help You Through Any Disaster and The Prepper’s Cookbook, which has sold over 10,000 copies.


The Blueprint’s Design


The Prepper's Blueprint


This is a large book–well over 400 pages. It’s not a book you’ll toss in your backpack to take with you on a hiking trip. But it is one you’ll want in your survival library.

This is a comprehensive book to help you map out your preparedness strategy. It was about four years in the making and evolved from Tess’s online series, 52 Weeks to Preparedness. She got a great deal of positive feedback from people who wanted the information in book form. Therefore, she wrote The Prepper’s Blueprint and took the opportunity to expand on a number of subjects. She has drawn from an array of sources and has reproduced info in some sections from other preparedness experts.

The book is divided into three main parts.

  • Layer 1 (Chapters 1-14)–Immediate needs
  • Layer 2 (Chapters 15-31)–Short term preparedness
  • Layer 3 (Chapters 32-55)–Long term preparedness


As the layering of sections suggests, the information gets more in depth as you go further into the book. Quite a few chapters revisit subjects covered in earlier chapters.

Topics covered include…

  • Planning
  • Food storage and preserving
  • Water filtration and storage
  • Tools and hardware
  • Medical and dental supplies
  • Emergency communications
  • Pet preparedness
  • 72-hour bag
  • Evacuation
  • Sanitation
  • Home security and self defense
  • Emergency fuel supply
  • Alternative power
  • Lighting
  • Pandemic preparedness
  • Fitness and nutrition
  • Gardening and livestock
  • Financial preparedness
  • Survival Caches
  • Preparing for nuclear disaster and EMP
  • Spiritual and mental preparedness
  • Charity
  • Bartering anc community


You’ll find common sense guidance throughout the book. It has plenty of checklists, action items, recommended items to buy, supplemental information and resources.


The Blueprint’s Details

Allow me to share a few of my thoughts about this book and give a few hints of what Tess and I talked about.

Using the blueprint–I suggest taking time to get familiar with the book. Read it. Then follow Tess’s advice and start by making a plan. Ask yourself what disasters might occur in your local area. What other things should you be prepared for? The state of the economy is of great concern for many of us.

Next, expand your prepping strategy and efforts. Set goals, but don’t expect to accomplish all of your prepping in six months or even a year. A lot will depend on your particular situation. That may sound vague, but it really does start with you and your assessment of the needs for preparedness right where you are.

Prepping guidance from the past–A number of chapters start with interesting glimpses into history. For example, the chapter on pantry basics starts with a list of supplies pioneers would need to take on the Oregon Trail. Other chapters begin with personal stories or testimonials.

Those short hhistorical tidbits are there to serve as lessons to us that history can repeat itself. Thus, the need to be prepared.

Prepping in the here and now–Several times in the book Tess says to check to see what food and supplies you already have on hand. You may have more at the ready than you realize. And there may be other uses for tools and supplies, which you hadn’t thought of. It’s not necessary to approach prepping as if you have to buy everything new.

A taste of Op Sec–In one chapter Tess gives tips on stealth cooking, which will come in handy in a grid-down scenario if you don’t want to give yourself away in the event others around you don’t have food.

Tools–A few chapters focus on tools to have. Of course, having the right tools is important. Don’t go with the cheapest ones. If something breaks and you can’t replace the tool or one of its parts, you’re out of luck.

The Bug Out Bag–The chapter on putting together a 72-hour bag doesn’t appear as soon as you might expect. Other prepping should come first. However, when you see this chapter, you’ll note it’s like a mini-prepper course.

Bug in or bug out?–If you shelter in place, are you prepared to defend yourself? If you bug out, have you planned adequately? Are you physically up to the rigors of leaving home?

Communications–Info on communications mentions quite a bit about ham radio. It includes a link to the ARRL (Amateur Radio Relay League), which is an excellent resource.

Pets–Find helpful info on pet preparedness. For example, your pets need at least two weeks of food and supplies, just like you and the rest of your family.

Financial preparedness–Finances and the economy are a big concern to so many of us these days. I’m glad Tess writes about these things. She even includes guidance on making the right kind of investments.

Tess writes about having a change of attitude concerning possessions, use of time, and how we live our lives in general. It’s important to simplify our lives and make them more efficient.

You may be held back by lack of funds to buy the prepping supplies you’d like to have. That’s where planning comes in. Work on getting out of debt and reach toward your preparedness goals as best as you can.

Spiritual and mental preparedness–If you and I are to have a mindset geared toward survival, this area of prepping is a must. Prepping has less to do with things than what’s in our heads and hearts.

Tess admits that when she started prepping, she went into a dark place. I appreciate her admission because prepping can indeed become depressing. We each simply need to take a look at reality, admit how things are, and put things in proper perspective so we can move forward. Otherwise you’ll suffer what tess calls doomer fatigue.

Remember, if you’re reading this, the end of the world hasn’t happened yet. There’s still hope for you to go forward on your preparedness journey.

Medical supplies and first aid–When it comes to medical matters, Tess gives a great deal of info on supplies to have, including dental supplies. Dental health shouldn’t be underestimated. But she goes beyond all that to make recommendations about healthful eating and being less stressed.

Sanitation–The importance of good sanitation in a survival situation is another matter which should not be underestimated.

Pandemic preparedness–Is Tess concerned about Ebola coming to the U.S.? If it isn’t what brings about a pandemic here, what could? Find out by listening to our conversation.

Hiding your stuff–Since caching is important for long term prepping, Tess passes along helpful tips on that, too. For example, set aside the means to filter water because it’s not practical to cache water.

Preparing for nuclear disaster–The chapter on nuclear disaster includes mention of Fukushima, which the mainstream media completely ignores. And you won’t want to miss the brief note about a plant that serves as nature’s radiation detector.

Bartering–As you might expect in a book of this magnitude, you’ll find a list of suggested items for bartering. Of course, Tess reminds us not to overlook skills and services you and I can use for trade.

Personal defense and security–There’s no doubt Tess is pro gun. Among other things, you’ll find ten commandments for gun safety. If you’re considering body armor, there’s info on that, too.

Something uniqueThe Prepper’s Blueprint includes a section on a topic I’ve never seen covered in any other preparedness book. You’ll have to listen to our conversation to find out what it is. I can tell you this. It’s controversial, and I think it’s one of the coolest things put into a book like this. I hope Tess keeps it in any future editions.


Find Out More…

It’s books like this one which reaffirm my notion not to write my own book on prepping. If you need more how-to info, you need this book in your survival library. I’d much rather promote Tess’s book or other books from authors I’ve spoken with.

Meanwhile, please listen to my conversation with Tess Pennington by hearing DestinySurvival Radio for September 18, 2014. (Right click to download.) Order Tess’s book wherever you see the title linked in this post. Visit her web site at for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

The Prepper’s Blueprint is available in print only now, but a Kindle version is forthcoming. Of course, as you may know, I’m definitely a proponent of print. Books will be around when the Internet and our battery powered electronic devices aren’t.


A Giveaway for The Prepper’s Blueprint

The giveaway ended September 30, 2014. I asked readers to leave a comment at the end of this post. On September 30th I picked a winner using the number generator at The number 5 came up. Kevin was the fifth person to leave a comment below. I’ve contacted him, and arrangements have been made to send him his prize. Thanks to each of you who entered, and congratulations, Kevin.

My sincere thanks to Tess Pennington for letting me give away a copy of The Prepper’s Blueprint to someone in my audience. And even though the giveaway is over, feel free to share your thoughts about anything you’ve read here or heard in our DestinySurvival Radio conversation.


Paracord–Practical, Popular, and for Crafts, Too

If you’ve been a prepper for long, you know paracord is practical and popular. But it’s for crafts,too. In fact, there’s a book by Chad Poole called Crafting with Paracord.


Crafting With Paracord


Unraveling the Contents

Paracord is strong and versatile. It’s ideal for crafting items that are both functional and decorative. Crafting with Paracord uses easy to follow directions and step by step pictures. You’ll discoverhow to make 50 fun and creative projects. The book is complete with knot-tying basics and detailed tutorials. Chad says, “This book is an introduction to the uses of paracord and was written to encourage creativity.”

While it’s true that you can find info about paracord online for free, there are several advantages to having this book. Everything is together in one place. You don’t have to go searching for it. Plus, you don’t have to use paper and ink to print out sheets that may or may not find their way into a file folder or notebook.

The introduction explains what paracord is. You probably already know that paracord was originally used during World War II as parachute line. It can be defined simply as nylon cord wrapped in a braided sheath.

Only a few basic supplies are needed for crafting paracord, including scissors, ruler, and a lighter. Or use a woodburner pen, which can cut and melt the paracord at the same time. Need to know how much paracord to use for a given project? Take a look at the introductory pages..

Right away, Chad gets you into making bracelet loops. The instructions throughout the book are well written, and illustrations are well done. A brief bibliography on the last page suggests titles which include more books on knot tying.

Chapters cover:

  • Solomon bars (You may know them by other names.)
  • Bracelets, bars and keychains
  • Practical ropecraft
  • Brainds and weaves
  • Decorative knots


Make projects like…
  • Braids for fun bracelets and watchbands
  • Weaves for one-of-a-kind leashes and luggage straps
  • Wraps for tough knife and flashlight handles
  • Knots for decorative lanyards and clasps
  • Bars for handy ropes and keychains


You’ll find knots and designs with familiar names. But some have clever names I’ve never heard of before. Ever heard of a Germ Grenade? See page 79. Want to make a Monkey’s Fist? Go to page 87.


Thought Strands from Others

I showed the book to a few other people, including a sister-in-law and a good friend. Both had positive comments to say about it.

My sister-in-law has done a number of craft projects in the past and liked the book. She said illustrations and directions were clear, and she recognized several knots pictured. Her advice is to start at the beginning and work your way through the book because the projects get more advanced as the book progresses.

A friend also agreed that the illustrations are clear. Instructions on making knots are some of the best he’s ever seen. He liked the size and feel of the book, too.


A Knotty Objection

One criticism I heard of this book is that it doesn’t have anything to do with survival. It’s more of a novelty. What would you say to that.

My thought is that you could use this book to make items you could sell, such as at craft fairs, prepping expos, etc. Launch your own business. Offer something that could be handy in a survival situation.

Of course, having paracord in a bracelet, knife holder or some other configuration, makes for a convenient way to take along something for EDC (every day carry). So you can be both creative and practical at the same time when you make the book’s projects..


Are You Afraid to Braid?

I admit it. This book is for those with more dexterity than I have. I’ve got baseball bats for fingers. And I have to ponder instructions long and hard before they soak in. I’m inclined to stick to buying ready-made paracord products.

On the other hand, it might be totally different for you. This book gives you freedom to make things with paracord you might not be able to find anywhere else. If you’re interested in learning new knots or want to start crafting with paracord, this is the book you want.

When we think ahead to a grid-down situation, having plenty of paracord on hand for making crafts as a family could be a real plus. Perhaps such crafted items could come in handy for barter.


Tying Up Loose Ends

Get your copy of Crafting with Paracord by clicking on its title wherever you see it linked in this post. That takes you to the page where it’s featured, and you can place your order there. You can sample Chad’s writings and illustrations on his blog at

Are you making paracord projects already? Is this book a resource you’d use for starting your own home-based business? Is it a book you’ll tell others about? Or like one critic, do you think it’s more of a novelty?


Books Galore, Books a Bore

I’ve attempted to sell a number of books on prepping through this site. But now I’m having second thoughts because of an eye opening experience I’ve had.

My wife and I ran into more difficulty than I anticipated when trying to find good homes for the books in a friends unique and eclectic collection. You can read my thoughts about that here on another blog of mine.

It dawned on me that this lack of interest in books is evident on DestinySurvival as well. I haven’t sold any for months–at least not according to the info I have access to. But not much of anything else has been selling either. In looking at the bigger picture, I’m sure the down economy plays a significant role.

One reason I’ve promoted books is because it’s easy to do. That may sound self serving, but there are so many books on prepping out there these days, it seems a shame to pass them by.

There’s also no end to the glut of prepper fiction, which you won’t see much mentioned here because frankly it doesn’t appeal to me. While it can stimulate thinking about survival to some degree, it provides more entertainment value than usefulness.

I confess, I haven’t read every single book I’ve mentioned on this site because it’s not possible, but I try to find useful information and reviews which help me write what I pass along to you. I’m not the ultimate prepper expert. My duty, as I see it, is to point you to resources that will help you and your family survive.

Of course, it should go without saying that books are a great source of information. As I heard it expressed by a well known leader in Internet marketing, ironically enough,a book is a wonderful way to express a body of thought in one place. I’m convinced that the more ideas and info we have at our disposal, the better we’ll be equipped with a mindset for survival.

Plus, as we as preppers are aware, we may not have the Internet forever. As if that weren’t enough, all those books on e-readers and smart phones won’t be available when there’s no way to charge up the batteries.

Books are also less expensive than a camping tent or a year’s supply of food–all of which companies featured here are prepared to offer you.

But back to the idea of books galore, books a bore.

In Ray Bradbury’s classic dystopian novel, Fahrenheit 451, books were outlawed. Firemen were sent to burn them. Truth was effectively bottled up.

We might as well have the same thing going on today. No, we don’t need official book banning or censorship to accomplish it. We’ve done it to ourselves. The Internet, smart phones and social media have combined to tear us from books and rewire our brains.

In fact, I heard a news item where a teacher suggested teaching children in school how to read material from print again–separately from online material. Children and young adults no longer have capacity to read content of much length.

Sad, isn’t it? Or it should be if you’re into books at all.

Oh, sure, people are still getting the content they want, but will they have it when they really need it in a grid-down situation?

Having said all that, you’ll still see books featured here from time to time because publishers send them to me for review. And I see some I come across myself now and then which I think you should know about. But my optimism has been tempered regarding whether you or other readers of this site will buy them.

By mentioning books, I hope I’m not wasting my time–or yours.


Why You Need The Prepper’s Complete Book of Disaster Readiness – Part 1

With so many books on prepping and survival these days, how do you know which are the best ones to put in your survival library? Each one has its purpose. Each one covers things just a bit differently. When you consider what you’ve gleaned from the books you have already, how well have they prepared you for disaster?

Let me tell you why you need The Prepper’s Complete Book of Disaster Readiness. It’s a DestinySurvival Pick, and it’s by Jim Cobb, a noted disaster readiness expert. What sets him apart is that he approaches prepping with refreshing common sense, not hype or B.S. He’s been involved with emergency preparedness for about thirty years.

He’s also the author of Prepper’s Home Defense. I’ve read both of Jim’s books and recommend each one. I’ve interviewed him on DestinySurvival Radio, too. In fact, he was my guest on this week’s show. I’ll tell you about his book and our conversation.


The Prepper's Complete Book of Disaster Readiness


Is it really complete?

As with Jim’s first book, each chapter could be its own book. I don’t know how he does it so well, but he packs a lot of information into a limited space–277 pages in this case.

No book can ultimately be complete, in spite of the title. But Jim wanted to give new and veteran preppers a complete spectrum of subject matter pertaining to disaster readiness. A chapter near the end gives great recommendations for further reading from books with a narrower focus.

Here are some of the topics covered in the book’s chapters.

  • The Survival Mind-Set
  • Survival Kits
  • Bugging Out vs. Sheltering in Place
  • Pantry Organization and Storage
  • Foraging
  • Water
  • Health and Wellness
  • Miscellaneous Emergency Gear
  • Security
  • Children, Pets, and the Elderly
  • Wilderness Skills
  • Offsite Survival Retreats, Survival Communities, and Retreat Groups
  • The Survival Library
Jim starts the book with an amusing example of being unprepared when his wife’s water broke and she was ready to deliver their baby. It’s a rather friendly example of what not to do when things need to be done quickly. And in an emergency, you’d better have things thought through as much as possible ahead of time. And Jim gives you plenty to think on.


Are you a balanced prepper?

Jim takes a swing at those who are into what’s commonly referred to as conspiracy theory. But these days anything can happen. I believe nothing should be ruled out, no matter how improbable it may seem. If we’re to think survival, we need to think the unthinkable.

Nonetheless, common sense should prevail. This is a word of caution for those among us who entertain scenarios whichmost people would think of as inconceivable. Keep things in proper perspective. Maintain a balance. Jim says it’s good to be informed, but time is better spent getting prepared than connecting dots that may or may not be real.


Can’t I do anything I want?

Several times throughout his book, Jim encourages readers to stay within the bounds of the law. There’s a legal way to do what you want. As he explained it to me, you can’t get prepared if you’re sitting behind bars or breaking your budget by paying fines.

It would take an EMP or disaster of similar magnitude to bring about a widespread environment where there is no law and order. But do what you can now so you’re not surprised by the unexpected. At least be as ready mentally as you can be. If you’re prepared for total societal collapse, you’re surely prepared for a smaller event like a three day power outage.


How can I use the best survival tool?

It’s been said that the best survival tool is the one between your ears. Jim’s chapter on the survival mindset is very good. It includes insights which I can sum up like this…
  • Be present (situational awareness)
  • Be positive
  • Be realistic
  • Be resourceful
So how do we develop that all important resourcefulness and creativity? For example, how can we figure out that a stick is more than just a stick?

Jim says play with it. Pretend you’re eight years old again. Let your imagination run wild.

That’s the best and simplest advice I’ve heard.


What’s in the bag?

Jim gives common sense advice on what to include in your bug out or get home bag. Appendices in his book are helpful with checklists for this, too.

Should you buy a commercially available ready-made bag? Don’t buy it just to feel good and say you’re prepared. Jim says the key is to customize your bag for your needs. Buy quality items. Get familiar with what’s in your bag. Know how to use it.


To buy wheat or not to buy wheat…

Don’t buy wheat? Believe it or not, Jim discourages most preppers from buying buckets of wheat. When a disaster hits, will you know what to do with all that wheat?

So what about buying large amounts of freeze dried food or MRE’s? Let me put it thisway. There’s a reason Jim joins Doctor Prepper and others who say to store what you eat and eat what you store.


But I gotta do it this way!

We discussed the importance of routine. We’re creatures of habit. We become disoriented when our normal routine is disrupted. It’s important in the wake of a disaster to try to develop a new routine quickly and stick to it. This provides psychological comfort. Even something as simple as having light when it’s dark can provide reassurance.


What about the children?

Get them involved in prepping and dealing with reality. They may have good answers to problems you hadn’t thought of. And don’t lie to them about the situation you’re in.


When it’s really over…

In his book Jim even tells what you should do to bury a loved one who dies. What if there’s no immediate medical help? What if there’s no access to the normal services for disposing of the dead? As distasteful and horrible as this sounds, we need to be prepared for this if we’re to think the unthinkable.


What’s mine is mine, and what’s yours is mine

What’s the difference between looting and scavenging? Who cares anyway when you’re in a situation where there’s no law and order?

The difference is in the intent. Jim defines looting as taking things that don’t belong to you but have little or no survival value. Scavenging also involves taking things that aren’t yours, but they have survival value.

Usually looting happens immediately. Scavenging happens later.


Then there’s other stuff

In his book Jim revisits the subject of home defense and personal security, which his previous book is devoted to entirely. So I won’t dwell on it here.

Pet lovers will be glad to see that he touches on the necessity of gathering prepping supplies for pets, too.

There’s even a chapter in Jim’s book on post apocalyptic fiction in the popular culture, such as books, movies and TV shows. We’re both sick of zombies. However, quality fiction can be of value if it prompts you or your children to be more survival-minded. It can capture your imagination and make you ponder, “What if?…?


Jim’s Got More to Say

Hear my entire conversation with Jim Cobb on DestinySurvival Radio for September 26, 2013. We covered more than I have space to go into here. Plus, he’ll be my guest on next week’s show to continue our discussion.

Find Jim online at And see what he has to offer you through Disaster Prep Consultants at

Get The Prepper’s Complete Book of Disaster Readiness by first clicking on its title wherever you see it linked in this post. Or click on the book’s image above. That takes you to the page where it’s featured. You should put it in your survival library because of Jim’s common sense approach to such a wide scope of preparedness topics.


Find Part 2 of my conversation with Jim Cobb here.