WWIV Book 1

FOUR WWIV Books are now available on Amazon.
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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Charity: Begins at Home

Sometimes it's real easy to say you support this or that, or maybe you post a whole series on it. That's all good and fine, but I want to do more for the causes I support.

This week I announce specific plans to support each of the issues I feel strongly about. Immediately below you will find the issue, and the level of my support. I am pledging support upfront with these causes. I'm not waiting until I've made X amount of money or sold Y amount of books. Something from each sale, not matter how large or small, will be contributed to these causes.

By making my plans known upfront, I allow my readers and followers to hold me accountable to these promises. As such, I ask that each of you share this with two or three of your friends. And have them share it with their friends.

Without further discussion, here goes:


A well read population is a better educated population. Many authors support this cause (literacy) and I do as well.

September is National Literacy Month. That makes September a perfect time to set aside some money for the promotion of literacy.

During the month of September, I pledge to give 20 cents from every book sold to help promote literacy, both here and abroad. I place no cap on this pledge. If I sell 1,000 books, $200 will be donated. If I sell 2,000 books, $400. You get the idea.

So far I've sold an average of 700 books a month. September will see the release of Book Two of my WWIV series. Thus, I anticipate higher numbers. As a base pledge, I will give $140 to literacy no matter how many books I sell.

So, it's up to my readers as to how much above that $140 mark I will give. Again, NO top end. Twenty cents on every book no matter how many books are sold.

I will spend the next six weeks vetting the best place for this donation. If you have any suggestions, please feel free to contact me via email at: ealake5@gmail.com.


This is something that needs our attention now! Our children of all ages need to feel safe. They don't need the stress or concern or intimidation caused by bullying. As such, I will help.

October is National Bullying Prevention Month here in the US. That's a great time to focus on this cause. I really want to do something special here.

During the month of October, I will create a small novel (novella) of about 30,000 to 40,000 words that deal specifically with this topic. Now, it will be symbolic for the most part, and the bullying that occurs will be hid in a metaphor. But I think you are going to like it.

If I write it in October, it will be edited in November and ready for release on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iBooks, Smashwords, etc... before Christmas. I'm thinking this will sell for 99 cents on all outlets (to make it affordable). It will still be Dystopian in nature, but I have the perfect setting and storyline that will bring bullying to the forefront.

For as long as I'm alive, I pledge 75% of all net proceeds from the sale of this story towards various anti-bullying causes. If enough copies sell each year, this amount could be nice. At a minimum, I will give $250 to the cause each year - regardless of how many copies sell. I will try and announce each October how many copies sold in the last year and how much money was given.


Another worthy cause. Bodily injuries, mental anguish, emotional distress - all harms that befall our young men and women who serve their country voluntarily. While Washington, and our taxes, do provide some help, more is still needed. And that's where I'll help out.

Next year (2015), I will be releasing  Book One of a new series, The Smith Chronicles. This first book will be released under the title of Golden 5. There will be at least another three books in the series. Each of these books is almost twice as long as my current series. I'm planning on making them great reads, for my great readers.

While this series is more Dystopian, and not post-apocalyptic, than the WWIV series, there will be plenty of action and suspense. Chances are Golden 5 (and the subsequent books) will appeal to a wider audience than my first series. As such, these should be good sellers.

From this series, I pledge 25% of all net proceeds to be donated to causes that support our troops and veterans. As 2015, and the books release, draw closer - I will let you know what causes the money will go to. One will have to do with physical injuries - a charity similar to Wounded Warrior Project. Another will deal will emotional and physical problems - something like Soldiers to Summits. Still another will deal with PTSD, and a last will be a local California organization where MY Marine spent the first four years of his service.

If this series sells exceptionally well (and I have no idea what that means after being a published author for only 4 months) I will use some of the funds from these books to help equal out support for the first two causes mentioned above. If I make $10,000 from the sale of this series, I will be more than happy to give away in excess of $2,500. There is no limit to how much I feel I should give. I have already exceed my expectations (and wildest dreams) with the sales to date of WWIV - In The Beginning. I'd like to make a difference in this world; I'd like us all to make a difference. And together we can...we will!

Until next week, read a classic or a brand new author. You never know what's waiting for you in the world of books. And take a few minutes during your week to perform random acts of kindness.


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Support Our Troops

No one hates war more than me. Okay, maybe I'm tied for first place in the disliking of war category with two billion others. But you get the point, I don't see much good coming from war. What was it that General George Patton said? "War is hell!"

If that's your motto, I've got a new one from you to try.

Hate the war, but love the warrior

I really, really believe in the above statement. And I passionately support it when it comes to our troops. I'm talking about the troops that represent The United States of America. The US Marines, the US Army, the US Navy, the US Air Force, the Coast Guard, and the National Guard. All of them; as well as troops from whatever country you read this post in. Full-timers, reservists, volunteers, professionals...all of them. Each and every one of these men and women have my undying admiration, non-wavering support, and complete respect.

When I was younger, we were in the middle of the Vietnam War. You think protests and negative feelings of war are bad now? You haven't seen anything. The late 1960s were terrible times to be a soldier. "Baby Killers" is the label that always sticks in my mind. Here was a group of young men only doing what their country asked them to do. They came back home after their service was over, expecting a hero's welcome. Instead, they were greeted by angry mobs of young adults who, amongst other things, spit on these people. Yes, they actually spit of young men in uniform, young men who couldn't comprehend the other's actions.

Love the warrior

Nowadays, the young men and women that serve in our armed forces have predominantly volunteered. No one drafted them, no one forced them to join, no one put a gun to their head. Of their own free will, they joined. Now, perhaps they didn't quite realize just how dangerous their service might be, but they still came freely.

Some will say, "They chose this, they're paid for this; so they should have known what they were getting into." HOGWASH! As little as eighteen months ago, many of them were at their senior prom. Their toughest choice was who to take, or where to eat, or would Dad give them the good car for the night. People occasionally got hurt in their schools, usually out of stupidity. But all in all, life was simple.

Fast forward time: Some have been injured, seriously. Lost arms and legs, eyes. Horrific wounds cover some of their bodies. They will never be whole again. Yet they survive.

Some have internal wounds. Wounds we cannot see; wounds hiding under the surface. Sometimes our soldiers don't even know these wounds are harboring inside their heads. But they will come out; these wounds will rear their ugly head eventually. They always do!

These young men and women have seen things that will never go away. They watched as their friends and buddies died next to them. They witnessed people being blown to pieces by IEDs. They were shot at and missed - sometimes shot at and hit. We can try to understand what they have gone through, but make no mistake - we will never fully know know their plight.

Our warriors need our help

A number of years ago I was involved in a very serious car accident. I had very few external injuries, but the damage done to my back was permanent (as you would expect in a rear-end accident). About 18 months later I suddenly realized one day that my memory wasn't as sharp as it had once been. I misplaced my car keys (A LOT). I would enter a room and suddenly have no idea what I was there for. And one night I actually got lost on the way home from work. I mean really lost; like to the point where I was panicked, badly! I had a mild brain injury.

My injuries, both internal and external, are nothing compared to what has happened to some of our troops. I didn't lose a leg, or an arm, or an eye. I never saw anyone shot through the head by a sniper. I haven't watched as the vehicle in front of me exploded into the air after striking a roadside bomb. I understand, but I will never ever have a full knowledge of what they are going through.

I read this the other day:

There are 23 Military Suicides Daily

This, my friends, has to stop. We have to do something to stem the tide - before the problem takes care of itself, tragically, right in front of our eyes.

I began my first novel, Golden 5 (releasing next spring), because I had an idea to make people more aware of the problem of PTSD. Almost every day I see a news story about a young man who has given up hope and killed himself. Or I read on an online post from a young woman who is hanging on by her very last thread. Family members are being caught in the crossfire. Our young are dying because we don't have any idea of what to do.

They've served bravely, honorably

And now it's our turn. Perhaps you do hate war more than me. I just hope you love our warriors as much as I do. These are our sons and daughters, nieces and nephews, grandchildren, the neighbor's kids, someone from your church. They've already survived the war - Let's make it so they can survive once they get home.

Next week I will tell you how I plan on helping. 

Over the past three weeks now I've spoken about Literacy, Bullying, and Supporting our Troops. These are the causes which I proudly stand beside. I plan to help, not matter how large or small, to the best of my ability. I ask that you help support these deserving needs either by purchasing a particular book I will speak of next week or by direct contribution to the charity of your choice.

This is our world. These people in need are our family and friends. It makes no sense whatsoever to sit and watch, turning a blind eye when convenient. By making my plans public, at least I should be held accountable by my readers. And accountable I will be.

Until next week, keep reading - because that's what you're supposed to do during the summer!


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Time to Put an End to Bullying

That's a pretty aggressive statement, I know. But haven't we had just about enough of this to last a lifetime? Isn't it time for all of us to work collectively at getting rid of bullying?

First a little history lesson.

Bullying has been going on FOREVER!
If not a little longer. 

Once upon a time, bullies would call others out for a duel (or visa-versa). If their shooting prowess was at least a little better than their opponents, the bully prevailed. If not, end of that bully. Seemed simple enough. Dangerous, and lethal, but much more direct than we see nowadays.

In this world we find emotional bullies, physical bullies, physiological bullies, and cyber bullies. That's quite a variety, but make no mistake - a bully is a bully is a bully.

To me (and many, many others) all bullying is wrong. If I search my mind, I can't come up with a single instance where bullying is an appropriate action.

Let me first address any bullies that may be reading:

Stop it, Stop it right NOW!

You think you're cute, you think you're clever, you think you are innocently hurting no-one? WRONG! You are not cute, or clever, or innocent - you are hurtful, spiteful, mean and ignorant.

Chances are, if you are a bully, you've been bullied somewhere in your past. Or you may be in a relationship right now where you are the victim of this awful scourge. Humans as a whole are not wired to be mean to others. It's more of a learned behavior. Want to stop the vicious cycle? Keep Reading.

You want to meet someone's who really cute and clever and a whole lot tougher than you? Then I recommend joining the United States Marines. They have these folks called SDI (Senior Drill Instructors) who will show you a whole new level of cute and clever thoughts, and toughness. I guarantee that once you get through basic training, you'll never bully again.

Are you being Bullied at this Time?

Here's the best pieces of advice I can give to you if you are being bullied by someone.

First, remove yourself from the situation. Some big kid wants to take your lunch money? Avoid him or her. Someone wants to insult you and say hateful things to you? Turn away and don't give them a chance. Stand up for yourself. Leave the situation and even remind them that you are not going to waste your time listening to someone who has nothing nice to say. And then LEAVE!

Maybe it's a "friend" who's attacking you. Take my advice; you need (and deserve) better friends. Drop that person like a bad habit and never go back to them. You (all of us actually) deserve to be happy. Take charge of your personal happiness. You don't need friends that are not as nice to you as you are to them.

Are you being bullied in CyberSpace? Cut it off! I mean it. You don't like what people are saying about you on FaceBook? Delete your FB page. Twitter getting you down? Cut that one into cyber-pieces as well. You don't have to go out on the web and be attacked. Even though it's wrong of others to disparage you on the web, you don't need to take part. Again, take charge of your life and your personal happiness.

Tell adults and all your friends about your bullies

This is my second piece of advice for you - tell others. I know, you think this is embarrassing and personal, but it doesn't need to be. Your parents, teachers, and friends can (and WILL) help you. These people love and care about you. Really, they do. But they have to know what's wrong before they can help.

If it takes changing schools, so be it. Trust me; it's not the end of the world. Perhaps you'll have to make new friends. Hey, there are better ones out there. But you'll never know about these people until you actively seek them out.

But here's the bottom line: It's never worth hurting yourself over. NEVER! There are other (much better) alternatives. There are people who care about you very much and are waiting to help you. You deserve these people. So never be too ashamed or hurt or humiliated to seek them out.

Many, may people are on your side. You just can't see them right now through all the hurt and pain. I'm on your side. That's why I am dedicating myself, my blog and my writing to help put an end to this tragic problem. NEVER give up on yourself. NEVER stop trying.

In two weeks, I'll be making a special announcement regarding this subject. And it will be me in a VideoBlog, not just me writing all these words that at times may not be enough. Watch for my July 30th post!

Until next week (when we talk about Our Troops), make this a special day in your life!


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Literacy - Let's get Serious

I'm always reading about alarming numbers when it comes to American literacy. Here's one I found from NPR dated December 3rd of last year:

The US ranks 20th, among developed countries, in Reading.

Whoa, wait! 20th? Really? Yep! 20th. And we do even worse when it comes to Math and Science scores. We...have a problem. Period!

While some of us may want to blame our schools, our teachers, our boards, our administration, even our President - it's much simpler than that. Just take a good look in the mirror people and you'll find one of the biggest culprits in this problem.

Studies show that 38% of our 4th Graders, read below the most basic level of comprehension

The above shocking stat is in a report from a NAE program (part of the US Department of Education). I'm stunned by that number. Really. But, I have to remember, we are a family of readers. Even the slowest reader in my immediate family can polish off 100 pages a night when they are interested. But still, what's happening to our children?

Another study/report gave me an even greater shock...Are you ready for this?

Approximately 19% of our High School Graduates are Illiterate

This same study reports that 21% of our 5th graders read below a 5th grade level. It's said there are 32 million Americans Adults who cannot read. This fact really took my breath away. Because I'm not sure I know anyone, not a single person, who can't read. Yet, if you are to believe what we're told (and I've warned you about that) 14% of adults in this country are illiterate.

So how do WE solve this Problem?

From what I've been able to glean from hours and hours of research, the solution is much simpler than it seems. The remedy begins at home; with our youngest citizens. Read to your babies, read to your preschool children, encourage reading with your grade school children.

When introduced at an early age, reading becomes something children enjoy and look forward to. My three-year-old granddaughter loves being read to. Simple books, with large words, and colorful pics. Short stories; maybe ten pages in total. Read two or three small books a night and your toddler will love literature for the rest of their lives.

When your children are infants, read to them daily. Even as little as two or three minutes a day makes a huge difference. When children are able to read on their own, encourage silent reading time of 15 or 20 minutes each night. My oldest son and his wife encourage my grandson to read every night...even during the summer.It's a great past-time and reading leads to better overall scores in other areas as well.

Read, read and read some more. I personally read an hour or two every night. Sometimes a lot longer. Makes for a tired author and worker in the morning, but you know how that goes - sometimes you just can't put a good book down.

Here's one last sobering stat before I let you go. You'll see the correlation I trust:

Among Prison Inmates - 63% are illiterate!

Read people - read!  And read to your children - tonight!

Next week we tackle bullying. Until then, all my best to every reader of this blog.


Wednesday, July 2, 2014

So, what exactly do I "stand" for?

Okay, it's a fair question. And it deserves a well thought out response. I hope you will find just that herein.

Many writers/authors have a cause. Some are cheerleaders for social change. Others bring the environment to the forefront. And still more want to feed the hungry children here and there. While I support many causes in my daily life, here are the big three to which I plan on donating some of my writing profits.

All literacy in general, but especially children's literacy.

Found this interesting little tidbit online: According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, only 34 percent of America’s fourth graders read at grade level. (parenting.blog.nytimes.com)

Here's the problem with the above statement: those children who fall behind in reading, typically fall behind in other areas of school work. This leads to higher dropout rates as well as another alarming issue - a larger number of high school graduates that are functionally illiterate. And that my friends, is a huge problem.

Last month I read another alarming stat, but I'll be darned if I can remember where I found it. So I'm going to paraphrase and hopefully someone will help me out and refer to this article in the comments below. The statement went something like this: In 1970, the number of Americans who didn't read a book in the last year was 7%. By 2012, that number rose to 28%.

A huge part of learning is reading. We have to - absolutely must - get our children reading, and reading more. Whether it's a magazine, a sporting journal, a book, or even a comic; we need our children more actively involved in this past time.

I stand firmly with our youth who find themselves bullied these days.

When I was a kid, times were simpler. If you were bullied, you had more options. I remember being picked on by a certain classmate in third grade. Regardless of what I did, it seemed this young lad made fun of me. Others laughed at his bullying. I felt embarrassed, less of a person.

It started up again immediately in fourth grade. When I walked into the classroom on the first day, there he sat, ready to dish it out all over again. After about a week of it, I realized something. Over the summer I had grown nine inches; him - zero. I now stood a full head taller than he. So one day at recess, when he decided to bully and badger me about something (I honestly don't remember what his problem was anymore), I confidently stepped over and shoved him to the ground. Staring down at the now cowardly bully, I made this statement: "If you don't shut up, I'm going to pound you."

That was it; the bullying ended. Looking back it probably wasn't the best way to handle the situation, but I'm sure my father would have told me to do just that...if I had ever been brave enough to tell my dad.

I know it's different now. Social media brings a whole new life to bullying; takes it to another level. I understand. And hopefully my post on bullying will help at least one person who finds his or herself in the rotten spot which I found myself in so many years ago.

Our Troops
I live by the expression, "Hate the War, but Love the Warrior!"

On December 13, 1862 Robert E. Lee stood on a hill overlooking the Battle of Fredericksburg. As the cannons roared just below him and spewed death upon the Union troops, he uttered these immortal words: "It is well that war is so terrible - otherwise we would grow too fond of it."

A few years back I visited my son in Fredericksburg and stood on the spot where it is believed Lee spoke the above phrase. It's a haunting place; the feeling of dead souls seems to fill the air. Just below the ridge you can still see the trenches that the Confederate soldiers dug to protect themselves from the Union artillery. War, it does truly seem, is hell.

We send our finest young men and women to do battle for our country. While we may not support the war effort, we need to remember our troops. Many are returning nowhere near as whole as when they left. Some die; more are physically injured. Many of our children return emotionally and psychologically battered.

They need our love, our support, and our help. I for one will do my part.

Alright, I've said enough for now. Starting next week, I will pick up with Literacy. Watch for that post on Wednesday July 9th. And please share these posts with a friend and encourage them to share with others as well. I'm not really trying to sell books on my blog - I'm attempting to help others as much I can. Even if it's just one person at a time.

Until next week, enjoy your summer (and do some fun reading).